Practical Defensive Driving Tactics

Car Accident Lawyer

Driving, although a necessity for most Americans, is an activity that is inherently dangerous. Luckily, there are steps that you can implement today that will lessen your chances for causing, or otherwise being involved in an accident that endangers you, your passengers, other drivers and pedestrians on or near roadways. As a car accident lawyer from Des Moines Injury Law can explain, by taking a defensive approach, you can avoid the potentially long and costly road to recovery. Here are five ways you can work into your daily commute that will help foster a safer environment for everyone on the road the next time you venture out!

Maintain safe distances between vehicles

According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics, approximately one third of all accidents on United States roadways are a direct result of vehicles following too closely to each other. Tailgating is dangerous, and avoidable. When traveling at speed, the distance you maintain between your vehicle and the car in front of you directly correlates to the time you have to react in the event of a sudden stop or other hazard. It is also important to be aware of the distance the car in front of you is maintaining from the car in front of them. 

Blindspot awareness

Look once, look twice, look thrice. Being aware of your blindspots will help you make well-informed driving maneuvers. Every car has different blind spots. When you drive a new vehicle be sure to familiarize yourself with its unique blindspots. Making lane changes without certainty about who is in your blindspot can lead to serious accidents. 

Consistent and safe speeds

Avoid unnecessary acceleration and decelerations when driving if at all possible. If a sudden stop is imminent and unavoidable, you must be confident in your reflexive abilities and aware of the cars around you, so as to not cause a collision. Rapid acceleration is only really necessary when entering a highway, to get up to the speed limit so you are not traveling too slowly by the time you have to merge. Merging at too slow of a speed can also create hazardous conditions where an accident could potentially happen.

Scan the road for potential hazards and changes

It pays to think ahead when you are driving. As a driver, thinking ahead means looking ahead for changes in traffic speeds, merging cars, potential hazards, and then adjusting your course accordingly. By being able to anticipate movements of other cars, and changes in traffic with ample time, you can make adjustments and maintain roadway safety. 

Vehicle maintenance

Although this may seem obvious, it is an essential part of defensive driving. Regularly check your car’s oil, coolant, and other fluids, as well as your tires for abnormal wear and treat thickness. An ounce of preventative maintenance can help prevent catastrophic failures of car components, and ultimately help maintain your safety while driving. For example, if you drive on tires that are low on tread, you are at risk for an unexpected blowout that could cause an accident. 

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