Nearly 1.35 million people die as a result of car crashes every year, in the United States. Most of these fatalities are preventable and take place as a result of someone’s negligence.
While road accidents are not always preventable, most of them are caused due to underlying issues that could have been eliminated. What’s more, even though most cars are insured, in case the other drivers or passengers are injured, you might end up in a personal injury lawsuit.
Ensuring that this does not happen to you is easier than you would think. By taking a few precautionary measures, you can avoid fatal impact even if you are injured in a car accident. Here are a few measures that you can take in this regard:
1. Wear Seatbelts
The golden rule of driving a car has remained the same: always wear your seat belt. Even as the number of car drivers on the road continues to increase each year, seat belt usage is taken too lightly. Remember — buckling up is not optional.
The national seat belt usage rate as of 2020, stands at 90.3%, and has saved thousands of lives that could have otherwise been lost in fatal accidents. By doing something as simple as wearing a seat belt, you will save yourself from potentially life threatening injuries right away. In fact, it is highly recommended that all passengers who have access to seatbelts in the car, wear them.
2. Stick to the Speed Limits
This one is a no-brainer, yet is taken for granted more times than you’d think. You should always keep an eye out for the speed limit defined for the road that you are taking, and follow it — no questions asked. In 2019, it was reported that 26% of all road accidents had speeding as a contributing factor.
While driving, keep checking your speedometer to ensure that you are not going over the speed limit. Even if you are on an empty road, ensure to stick to these speed limits to avoid collisions with stray animals or children who might suddenly step on the road.
If you have to get to someplace important, leave early to avoid unnecessary speeding. Overspeeding can prove to be quite dangerous for not just you and your passengers, but also other vehicles driving alongside you on the road.
3. Always Drive Sober
Maintaining sobriety while driving is basically Safe Driving Behavior 101. You must have already heard a lot about the grim accidents that drunken driving can lead to. In 2019, 10,142 people lost their lives in drunk driving accidents.
However, it is important to address that the problem is not just about alcohol anymore. Nearly 17% of all motor vehicle crashes involve alcohol, or other narcotics (legal and illegal). One of the most popular safe driving campaigns read: “any kind of buzzed driving is drunk driving”, and rightly so.
Another important factor to consider is that if you end up being in an accident while you are drunk or inebriated in any other way, you might be inviting a hefty personal injury lawsuit.
4. Do not Use Mobile Phones While Driving
Being distracted is one of the most dangerous things to do while you are driving. As a rule of thumb, you should always concentrate on the road while driving — everything else can wait.
However, many are distracted by their mobile phones while driving these days, whether it is texting, making phone calls, or watching a video. The only acceptable use for a mobile phone while driving is for navigation in case you do not have a GPS system in your car. Being on mobile phones while driving can be harmful not just for you, but also the ones that are in the car with you.
Just like drunk driving, in case you land in an accident while using a mobile phone, the other party can prove that the accident was caused due to your negligence, resulting in a personal injury lawsuit.
5. Safely Share the Road with Other Drivers
The most obvious piece of knowledge that people often overlook is the fact that they share the roads with many other people. So when you practice road safety, it is as much for the safety of other people as it is for you.
Responsible drivers should not only care for their own safety, but also pay attention to the consequences of their driving habits on others. Honking incessantly without any actual need, or trying to overtake a vehicle that is already speeding can not only be infuriating for others, but also dangerous.
It is recommended that you keep a 12-second scanning window for yourself and maintain distance from other vehicles accordingly. This way you can avoid collisions resulting from sudden halting or swerving of vehicles ahead of you.
6. Get Regular Vehicle Maintenance
One of the most underrated ways of preventing road accidents is to ensure that you take care of your vehicle. For most people, their car is one of their most prized possessions. Even then, people find it easy to overlook scheduled maintenance or service of their vehicles.
Doing so can have quite a bit of negative implications, especially if you need to commute quite a bit every day. Taking care of simple and inexpensive things such as keeping your engine oiled, checking your brakes often and ensuring that all the parts of the car are functioning properly can potentially save your life in case of an adverse event.
Conducting regular vehicle maintenance can be a great way to ensure that your car is always in the best possible condition, eliminating the possibility of sudden malfunctions.
Road safety should never be taken for granted, and every responsible driver should aim to follow the best practices for driving. Some of the measures that have been prescribed in this post are not only recommended, but even legally enforced. Even then, people continue to lose lives or get critically injured by ignoring these practices. If you do find yourself in an accident, even after taking all the safety measures due to the negligence of the other party, there are prescribed actions for minimizing the damage. If you are injured in the accident, you can also file a personal injury lawsuit to claim compensation for these damages.