Tips to stay safe on the road this summer
Whether taking a weekend road trip or traveling a longer distance across the country, it’s important to ensure your time on the road is safe. Many of the hazards you’ll face on the road can be avoided by practicing some common defensive driving practices. Even when a safety threat can’t be avoided, there are steps you can take to minimize the risks of an accident.
Reduce Driving Distractions
Year by year, distracted driving competes with drunk driving for the leading cause of traffic accidents in the United States. Any car accident attorney will tell you that the use of cell phones on the road is enough to cause serious and fatal accidents. In the short time it takes you to glance down at a text message, you have traveled hundreds of miles on a highway. A good solution is to put your phone in driving mode, which replies to messages with an auto text. The text will let them know you’re driving and that you’ll respond when you park your car.
Obey the Speed Limit
Another danger that increases your risks for an accident is traveling at high speeds. You should always obey the posted speed limit to keep those risks low. A sudden stop, sharp curve, or mechanical problem can put you at a great risk for injury if you’re traveling at an unsafe speed. If you are involved in an accident, you may be considered the at-fault driver if you were speeding. The other party can argue that the accident may not have happened if you were obeying the speed limit.
Don’t Drive Under the Influence
You may know that it’s illegal and unsafe to drive after you have been drinking alcohol or using illegal drugs, but those aren’t the only substances that affect driving abilities. Before you get behind the wheel of a car or truck, take the time to read the labels on your prescription medication. Many prescription drugs affect mood, judgment, and response time, which are all factors in determining your ability to drive a car. You may have to hire a car accident attorney if you’re involved in this type of accident, but you can avoid this situation altogether by making yourself aware of the effects your medication has on you.
Keep Your Distance
Under normal driving conditions, you should follow the three second rule to ensure there’s a safer distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. To use this rule, pick a stationary object on the side of the road, such as a tree or sign. Note when the vehicle in front of you passes that object and count off the seconds until your vehicle passes the same object. If a minimum of three seconds hasn’t elapsed before you pass the object, you’re traveling too closely. In more hazardous conditions, such as rainy weather or sharp curves in the road, you should increase the distance between you and the vehicle in front of you.
You can also stay safer on the road by being prepared for a roadside emergency. Keeping a small tool kit and first aid supplies in your trunk will help. You should also keep a flashlight with fresh batteries, road flares, and blankets in your trunk. These supplies will help you stay safe when you need to wait for emergency help on an unfamiliar road.
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