Every time you get behind the wheel, there is a chance that you could be involved in an accident. While there is nothing you can do to prevent other people from making poor decisions while driving, there are several steps that you can take to minimize your risk of being involved in a collision.
Follow These 10 Tips to Stay Safe on Washington’s Roads
As a driver, doing your best to stay safe protects you, your passengers, and those around you. It helps ensure that no one is seriously injured (or worse) as a result of mistakes that could have been avoided, and it helps ensure that you are not at risk.
When we drive, we all owe a duty to be careful and help prevent unnecessary accidents. With this in mind, here are 10 safe driving tips from our Olympia car accident attorneys:
1. Follow the Rules of the Road
From obeying the speed limit to coming to a complete stop at stop signs, following the rules of the road is one of the best ways to mitigate your risk of being involved in an accident. These rules exist for a reason, and studies have shown that speed limits save lives.
Even if you are in a hurry, speeding is only going to save you a few minutes at the most. That extra time is not worth the risk of injuring yourself or someone else in a collision.
2. Drive Defensively
Driving defensively is another highly effective way to reduce your risk of being involved in a serious or fatal car accident. In addition to following the rules of the road, this means leaving plenty of distance between your car and the car in front of you, checking your blind spots before you change lanes, and choosing not to engage with aggressive drivers who cut you off or ride your bumper.
3. Make Sure Your Car Is in Good Condition
Maintenance issues can cause and contribute to car accidents in a variety of different ways. Worn brake pads, worn tires, burnt-out brake lights, and poorly functioning windshield wipers are all common maintenance issues that can significantly increase your risk of being involved in a serious collision.
Keeping up with your car’s routine maintenance schedule is important. You should also be sure to promptly address any maintenance concerns in between scheduled service appointments.
4. Take the Current Weather and Traffic Conditions Into Account
Rain, ice, snow, and even sun glare can increase the risk of car accidents on the roads in and around Olympia and other cities across Washington. Likewise, heavy traffic on highways and city streets can increase the risk of being involved in an accident as well.
When driving, take the current weather and traffic conditions into account. Depending on the weather and the road, slow down (or stay home) as necessary.
5. Put Away Your Phone
Distracted driving is among the leading causes of car accidents in Washington and throughout the United States. When driving, don’t just put down your phone: Put it away.
If your phone is out of reach, you won’t be tempted to reach for it. As a result, you won’t be at risk of causing an accident (or failing to avoid an accident) because you were texting or checking social media.
6. Plan Your Route in Advance
If you are heading to an unfamiliar location on roads you haven’t traveled before, it is important to plan your trip beforehand. Even if you need to rely on your GPS, you will at least have a general understanding of when you need to look for turns and when you might be heading in the wrong direction.
Braking suddenly, attempting to change lanes at the last minute, and being distracted by road signs and GPS directions are all common causes of vehicle collisions.
7. Don’t Let Your Passengers Distract You
While phones can be major distractions, they are far from the only distractions that can increase your risk of causing an accident. Talking to passengers can make you less attentive to the road as well.
As the driver, you need to stay in control. You should not hesitate to ask your passengers to quiet down if they are making it difficult for you to focus on the task at hand.
8. When in Doubt, Slow Down
No matter how important your destination, getting there slowly is far better than not getting there at all. Slowing down when you identify potential hazards will significantly reduce your risk of being involved in a car accident. Once you determine it is safe to continue, then you can resume your normal speed.
9. Stay in Your Comfort Zone
From heavy traffic to bad weather, accidents often occur when drivers make ill-advised decisions because they are driving outside of their comfort zones. While you can (and should) practice to improve your driving skills under all types of conditions, there is a time and place to do so. Exceeding your capabilities in order to test them under real-world conditions is not a good idea, and it could lead to being involved in a serious collision.
10. Never Drive Under the Influence
Finally, never drive under the influence. This of course applies to driving under the influence of alcohol, but it applies to driving under the influence of other drugs as well.
Marijuana, over-the-counter sleep medications, various types of prescription medications, and illegal drugs can all significantly impair your abilities behind the wheel. This, in turn, can make you far more likely to injure yourself or someone else on Washington’s roads.
Contact the Olympia Car Accident Lawyers at Fuller & Fuller
Our firm provides experienced legal representation for car accident victims and their families. With offices in Olympia and Tacoma, we handle serious and fatal car accident cases throughout Washington.
If you have questions and would like to speak with an attorney, we encourage you to call (800) 570-4878 today.