Car accidents happen more than you think, but most people suffer from optimistic bias; they believe it can never happen to them. Some have gotten away with reckless driving until they don’t follow safety rules to keep themselves and their passengers safe. Those apparent things, even though very small, go a long mile.
Recent statistics suggest that a total of 1.3 million people die from car crashes every year. Approximately 50 million walk away with injuries, some are not fatal, but others walk away with permanent injuries, which lead to disability. The aftermath is a burden to both the affected families and the country. So don’t be a statistic; although there is no 100% assurance that you will avoid accidents, the following information will help to keep you safe on the road:
- Do Not Text Or Use Your Phone While Driving
This has cost more life on the road, and as a driver, it is essential to be alert and keen on the road. Don’t look at your phone or be in an instance where you want to concentrate on the screen. If you’re expecting an important call or message, connect the phone to Bluetooth. The benefit is that your eyes remain on the road ahead. Use audio navigation for cases where you’re using your phone for directions. This will keep your eyes on the road and save you the hustle of using a map as a guide.
- Inspect Your Car Before Driving
Before going on the road, do a visual check on your car to ensure it is fit for the road.
Check the tires and tire pressure; this will help prevent skidding on the road and prevent potential accidents. If the thread is worn, it is vital to repair it before hitting the road. You should also check the tire pressure, especially during winter; also, most recent cars have an indicator. If you get an alert on inflated tires, pull over to the nearest gas station and do the necessary.
Start the car when it is outside, or the garage door is open; this enables you to read your gauges and see everything is in order before leaving. Check to ensure the engine is running smoothly and doesn’t produce any weird noises, and lastly, ensure the oils and gas levels are sufficient.
- Prepare An Emergency Kit
This is a requirement for every car and is stored in the trunk. It would help if you did a regular sweep every six months to replace expired items and replenish any used ones. The kit should contain the following:
● first aid kit (aspirin, a blanket, Gauze tape, bandages, tweezers, antiseptic, scissors, gloves, antibiotic ointment, painkillers)
● glass breaker or a seat belt cutter
● A spare tire (that is properly inspected and inflated). It is important to check frequently because they experience wear and tear even without use.
● A jack, tripod, and wheel wrench.
● Multipurpose utility tool kit
● Duct tape
● Extra batteries and flashlights
● Cell phone charger, it is always wise to have a phone to call for help in an emergency.
● Jumper cables
● Reflective triangles
- Limit Or Avoid Night Driving
If you can avoid driving altogether, that is the safest option, but if you have to, you should inspect your lights. Many of these crashes occur at dusk, dawn, or in the dark, so you need your lights to work correctly so you can see what is in front of you and other drivers can see you approaching. While inspecting, check the brake lights, tail lights, and headlights. If you see any signs of not working appropriately, you should replace them as soon as possible.
- Purchase A Safe Car
With the advancement in technology, there are a lot of safe cars. Look for a vehicle that has high safety ratings. The cars are crash tested by the IIHS (insurance institute of highway safety), and awards some that are the best picks. Driving a safe vehicle means that it can withstand the weight of any crash and cushion everyone inside. A variety of cars have new advanced features aside from the standard safety features.
- Don’t Drive Under The Influence Of Alcohol Or Any Illegal Substances
This is common sense; it is not safe to drink and drive. Using illicit drugs is also a big no, whether prescribed or not. Sometimes you may fail to check whether the prescribed medication allows you to drive, so check it before going.
According to NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), drunk driving is the leading cause of road traffic accidents. More than 10,000 people die each year. So even though you took one drink, driving is unsafe, and you may kill innocent people. Alcohol impairs the driver’s judgment and ability to react faster in case an accident occurs. It is illegal in many countries to drive while drunk because the consequences are deadly.
- Never Forget To Wear Your Safety Belt
Always develop a culture of wearing a seatbelt as a driver or passenger. It is one of the most efficient ways to reduce injuries and save many lives in a car accident. But unfortunately, millions of people worldwide don’t fasten their safety belts while traveling. NHTSA says an additional 2549 lives would have been saved in 2019 by wearing seat belts. They also conducted car crush studies between 1960 and 2012. The results show that seat belts saved many people compared to other safety measures combined (anti-lock brakes, airbags, power steering, and electronic stability control). It saved a total of 329,715 people.
These tips won’t matter if you’re not a good driver. If you’re starting, take it slow and avoid fast-moving traffic because it can make you anxious. You can only venture into difficult driving situations like a highway when you feel comfortable. Always keep your eyes on the road and restrict the number of passengers if you’re a first-time driver. It also doesn’t hurt if you train for poor weather conditions but remember, don’t do it unsupervised. Safety comes first.
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