Top 10 Safe Driving Tips

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Don’t Drive Drunk

More than 30 percent of all auto accident fatalities in the United States can be attributed to drivers who were impaired by alcohol. Most of these deaths could have been avoided if the drivers involved simply had not driven while intoxicated. Driving under the influence (DUI) causes a number of impairments that can lead to an accident. Even at low blood-alcohol levels, intoxication can reduce reaction time and coordination and lowers inhibitions which can result in poor decision making. Higher blood-alcohol levels can have a more severe impact on your ability to drive, often causing blurred or double vision and even loss of consciousness. Driving under the influence is a crime and if caught behind the wheel with a BAC of 0.08 or greater you may face severe penalties. It is easy to avoid driving drunk. If you have been drinking you should have a sober driver or use a cab.

Don’t Speed

An old public service campaign stated “Speed kills”. At higher speeds the risk of being involved in an accident increases more quickly. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) explains the consequences of fast driving:

“Speeding is one of the most prevalent factors contributing to traffic crashes.”

Take your time and obey posted speed limits.

Avoid Distractions

It is against the law to use a cell phone while operating a vehicle, whether that is making a phone call or sending a text message. The rise in cell phone use behind the wheel has contributed to a larger amount of accidents. Working a cell phone behind the wheel can delay reaction times by as much as 20 percent. However, it isn’t just cell phones that cause distractions. Eating, applying makeup, electronic devices or interacting with passengers in the vehicle can also divert a driver’s attention.

Don’t Drive Drowsy

You may think that being drowsy will not have an impact on your ability to safely operate a vehicle but the truth of the matter is that it does increase your risk of being involved in an accident. Dozing off or “zoning out” at the wheel can take your attention off the road long enough to lead to an accident. If you are feeling drowsy behind the wheel it is important that you stop and rest in a safe place or have another driver take the wheel for you if possible.

Wear Your Seat Belt

We have all seen the “click it or ticket” campaigns and it is for good reason, seat belts save lives. When worn properly a seat belt can help prevent injuries in the event of a crash. The NHTSA has revealed that more than half of all accident fatalities were people who were not using seat belts. In the overwhelming majority of car crashes you have a much greater chance of survival if you are properly wearing your seat belt.

Be Careful in Bad Weather

The Central Valley can certainly have its fair share of bad weather and it is very important that you drive cautiously in fog, heavy rain, snow, or icy conditions. Some tips to keep in mind when driving in bad weather include driving below the speed limit if necessary, maintain extra space between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead of you, and be especially careful around curves or bends in the road.

Do Not Follow Too Closely

As a standard safety measure you should always avoid following too closely to the vehicle in front of you. Drivers need enough time to react if the vehicle ahead of them makes a sudden turn or stop. Most safety experts recommend what is known as the “three-second rule”. The three-second rule is simple, find a stationary object on the side of the road and when the car ahead of you passes it, start counting. At least three seconds should pass before your vehicle passes the same object. With driving experience and practice most drivers will develop an instinct for keeping a safe distance. At night or in bad weather it is recommended that the time be doubled to six seconds.

Watch Out For Other Drivers

Unfortunately it does not always matter how safely you drive, accidents can still happen. You should always be prepared for unpredictable lane changes, sudden stops, unsignaled turns, swerving, tailgating and other bad driving behavior. You should never make assumptions about what the other driver is going to do; you should be cautious and alert at all times. It is important to check your mirrors and keep an eye on side streets, for example. This will help you know what other cars are around and will allow you to keep an eye on how they are driving.

Practice Defensive Driving

Aggressive driving can increase the risk of accidents. Defensive driving incorporates the tips that have been listed here, such as maintaining a safe distance and not speeding, but also remaining calm behind the wheel.

Keep Your Vehicle Safe

Vehicle maintenance can not only prolong the life of your car, it is also a major safety issue. As a car owner you should be aware of any potential safety issues and get them repaired before they can lead to an accident. Tire pressure and brakes are two of the more common areas that should be monitored regularly to keep your vehicle operating safely.

If you have any questions regarding the services provided at the Law Office of Gregory W. Fox,
or would like to schedule your free initial consultation, please contact us today at (559) 222-5800. Hablamos español.