Avoiding accidents should be every driver’s priority. An auto accident could result in life-changing injuries or even death. Careful driving can also help your finances. Not only will you avoid costly repairs, but an accident-free record can also keep auto insurance costs in check.
Here are some situations that invite accidents and how to avoid them.
1. Excessive speed. In 2014, 9,262 Americans were killed in speed-related crashes, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Help avoid speed-related accidents by driving the posted speed limit. Adjust your speed for conditions, such as nighttime driving or wet or icy pavement. Stay alert for sudden changes in traffic flow that may call for lower speeds. Be mindful of what traffic in front of you is doing. That may help you avoid rear-end collisions, involved in 29 percent of traffic accidents.
2. Drinking and driving. Alcohol-impaired driving accounts for about 31 percent of all driving deaths, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. If you’re going out and plan to drink, arrange for a designated driver or other safe transportation. You should also be aware of driving under the influence of drugs. Even prescription and over-the-counter medications can affect your driving. Driving while drowsy can also cause accidents.
3. Distracted driving. In 2014, more than 3,000 people were killed and 431,000 injured in accidents involving distracted driving. Texting is one of the worst offenses, but anything that takes your attention from driving is potentially dangerous. That includes talking on a cell phone, eating, drinking, combing your hair or applying makeup, looking at a map, flipping through music channels, or being preoccupied with work or personal problems.
4. Road rage. Avoid tailgating, excess speed, cutting in and out of lanes and other examples of aggressive driving. If another driver is being aggressive, don’t gesture or respond in kind. Just take a breath and remove yourself from the situation as soon as it’s safe to do so. If you see a driver acting erratically, pull off the road, call 911 and report it.
5. Animal collisions. It’s estimated there are at least 300,000 wildlife-car collisions per year in the U.S., many involving deer. Pay attention to posted animal-crossing signs and slow down. Be especially alert during dawn and dusk, when deer may be most active. If you do spot an animal in the middle of the road, avoid swerving. You could lose control of the vehicle or cross into the oncoming lane of traffic.
Drive a Safe Car
Make sure your vehicle is properly maintained. Wear a seat belt and ensure all passengers are buckled up. Infants and children should be in appropriate safety or booster seats. Being prepared and staying alert may help you avoid accidents or survive if you do have an accident.
If your car lacks the latest in safety features, you may want to look into a newer vehicle. The Navy Federal Auto Buying Program can help you locate a dealer who can work with you to find the features you want in a new car, as well as provide a simplified buying experience.