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Avoiding Accidents with Defensive Driving
Using defensive driving techniques can help you avoid an accident. Defensive driving means that you can avoid most of the common causes of car accidents, including:
- Following other drivers too closely
- Failing to stay in the correct lane
- Failure to yield to the driver who has the right of way
- Driving while distracted
You can use the following defensive driving tips to help you and your passengers stay safe while you are on the road.
Watch Out for Other Drivers
One of the best ways to practice defensive driving is to keep your eyes on the cars around you. Watch for signs that the other driver will not follow the rules of the road, including stopping quickly, speeding, or veering into an improper lane. If you suspect that a driver may be dangerous, keep your distance.
You should also give other vehicles plenty of room, even if they do not exhibit any noticeable unsafe behaviors. Anticipating what the other driver may do, even when the action is reckless, can go a long way toward keeping you safe. Defensive driving also means never assuming that the other driver will follow the rules of the road.
Pay Attention and Stay Alert
Paying close attention is extremely important. Do not engage in other activities while you drive, including eating or talking on the phone. Of course, you should never text and drive or use social media while driving. These distracting activities will virtually prohibit you from engaging in successful defensive driving techniques.
You should also avoid driving drowsy. Driving while you are tired makes you slower to react and generally less alert. Wait until you are well rested to get on the road.
Stay Out of the Left Lane If Possible
The left lane is considered the fast lane. Many accidents occur between fast-moving vehicles in the left lane.You can avoid those fast-moving cars by staying out of the left lane. You will be able to get to an exit faster if you stay in the right or center lane, which can help you deal with emergencies more effectively.
Staying in the right lane also allows you to feel less pressure to increase your speed from other drivers; staying within the speed limit can significantly decrease your likelihood of being involved in an accident.
When in Doubt, Yield to Other Vehicles
If you are unsure who has the right of way or whether you can “make it” into traffic, err on the side of safety. Yield to other vehicles and allow yourself plenty of time to merge into traffic.
Even if you know you have the right of way, but it seems like the other driver does not agree, give in and allow them to go. You may lose some time approaching interactions with other vehicles this way, but it can help you avoid a collision.
Always Signal Your Intentions
You should always use your signals when you are turning or switching lanes. Lane changes should be smooth and predictable; do not make sudden lane changes. However, you should not assume that other drivers will follow this requirement. In fact, according to the Society of Automotive Engineers, the failure to use turning signals causes up to two million car accidents every year.
Even if you are the most effective defensive driver on the road, other drivers can be unpredictable and cause an accident. If you or a loved one has been involved in a collision, contact our team to determine whether you have a viable legal claim.