Drive defensively! Drivers must watch the other cars on the road while operating their own vehicle. Driving involves self-restraint, self control and heightened awareness. Car accidents can be avoided and prevented with common sense and care. Everyone would like to avoid an automobile accident at any cost and you can do that by following these easy steps.
Here are a few basic rules that must be followed for safe driving:
- Wear seat belts;
- Use rear view mirror and camera if available when backing out of a garage or parking space;
- Obey speed limits, stop signs and other posted warnings;
- Check blind spots before making a lane change.
- Keep your eyes on the road and look at drivers in opposite lanes and to your sides. Check for kids or pedestrians who might be crossing the street even though the signal light is changing. Pedestrians always have the right of way.
- Watch for bike riders and be patient with them if the street does not have bike lanes.
- If you are on a freeway / expressway, watch for the driver who may decide to change lanes without using turn signals. This is a major cause of highway car accidents causing multi-car pile-ups.
- Check your side mirrors for blind spots and use turn signals before changing lanes. Newer vehicles have a blind spot warning systems available in addition to the rear view camera.
- Diving behind a large truck can limit your vision. Stay well behind the truck so that you can be seen in its side mirrors until you can change lanes.
- Never tailgate the vehicle in front of you, no matter how slow or fast it's moving. If the vehicle stops suddenly, you can crash into it. This is another cause of car accidents and multi-car pile-ups.
- Newer cars have a collision warning system that tells the driver that the car is moving too fast in relation to the vehicle in front.
Hands on the Wheel
- Safe driving experts recommend keeping your hands at the 9 o'clock and 3 o'clock positions. Race car drivers keep their hands at the top of the wheel with arms resting on the wheel. This works for making turns on a track.
- You can take race car driving lessons to learn how professional drivers control their cars.
- Keep both hands on the steering wheel at all times. Do not text or hold a phone to your ear. Wear a Bluetooth or other headset. Newer vehicles allow you to set up your phone and answer it with voice controls while driving.
- Newer vehicles also have a touchscreen dashboard with controls close to the wheel so that drivers do not have to take their eyes off of the road. Radio controls may be on the steering wheel. Navigation systems use voice information so that drivers don't have to look at the map.
- Driving can be boring at times, especially when you are stuck in traffic. Concentrate on the road, even if you are relieving the boredom by singing along with your music or talking on the phone.
- If you have to use your hands for the phone, pull over to the side of the road before you use it.
It is important to pay close attention to the vehicles around you so that you can avoid hazardous drivers.
- Keep your vehicle in good condition. You do not need to stall or have your radiator overheat while you are driving. Check your car's fluids and have a lube and oil change as recommended by the vehicle's manufacturer. Keep your tires in good condition.
- Windshield wipers should be checked to make sure they are working even if you are not driving in the rain or snow. Drivers in Seattle change wiper blades more frequently than drivers in San Diego.
- A cracked or pitted windshield can be dangerous. Make repairs as needed.
- Know your vehicle's limitations and pay attention to warning lights. Have enough fuel to reach your destination. This is a new situation with electric vehicles on the road. Drivers of these innovative cars need to know where recharging stations are located.
- Car manufacturers must have new vehicles rated in various crash test. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration issues a crash test and safety rating to all new models every year. Check the ratings when you are ready to buy or lease a new or previously owned vehicle.
- The NHTSA website and independent auto reviews will give you good safety information on all vehicle models.
- Regularly take your vehicle to a reliable mechanic for inspection.
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