Auto accident injuries can be life altering. They cause death, serious injuries, and trauma to more than 2 million Americans each year. Defensive driving can help protect you from ever getting into an automobile accident. Sometimes, however, it’s not enough to avoid a collision with another vehicle or pedestrian.
It’s difficult to prevent auto accident injuries. There are some steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim. Here are some proactive steps you can take to protect yourself every time you get behind the wheel.
Maintain your vehicle
Automobiles are complex machines. Newer vehicles can be even trickier because they contain more electronic components that their predecessors. Keeping your vehicle in proper working order can prevent accidents that cause serious injuries to you and others.
Every vehicle comes with a recommended maintenance schedule from the manufacturer. If you bought a used vehicle that didn’t come with one, you can find a copy online. Some things require the assistance of a car mechanic. Others you can do on your own, including:
- Check oil levels, adding more if you’re low.
- Evaluate the air pressure in your tires.
- Test your windshield wipers and top off your wiper fluid.
If you notice something amiss with your automobile, trust your instincts and schedule a check-up with your mechanic.
Never drive impaired
Driving while under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances doesn’t end well for most people. A recent DUI report for New Mexico indicates law enforcement made 289 arrests for every 100,000 drivers in the state. The numbers earn the state a DUI severity score of 7 out of 10.
Drinking alcohol or taking controlled substances – including legally-prescribed medications that can affect your judgment and reflexes – should be avoided when you know you have to drive.
Obey traffic laws
It can be tempting to coast through a stop sign or drive over the speed limit if you think it’s safe to do so. Breaking the rules of the roadway increases your risk of being in an automobile accident, especially if you get in the habit of doing so.
Traffic laws exist for a reason. They protect you, your passengers, other motorists, and pedestrians. If you have an accident and the police discover you violated driving laws, you might get fined or lose your license. A police report noting your fault also can be used against you in a personal injury lawsuit.
Pay attention to your surroundings
Paying attention to your surroundings can help prevent auto accident injuries by reducing the likelihood you’ll be in an accident in the first place. If you’re on a busy roadway, frequently check your mirrors to note the positioning of other vehicles. While no accident is 100 percent preventable, defensive driving techniques offer protection.
Some common tactics you can use when behind the wheel include:
- Follow the 2-second rule when behind other vehicles.
- Plan an escape route if you observe driving dangers.
- See and be seen by other drivers.
Stay off your cell phone
Distracted driving is the most common reason for auto accidents. Talking and texting on cell phones is by far the most cited reason for becoming unfocused behind the wheel. According to the National Safety Council, 26 percent of all vehicle crashes involve cell phones.
Cell phones should be for emergency use only while behind the wheel if you hope to prevent auto accident injuries. Calls and texts can wait. If you must check your messages or answer a call, safely pull off the roadway first.
Wear your seat belt
Always wear your seat belt to help prevent auto accident injuries. New Mexico requires all drivers and their passengers to buckle up while the vehicle is in motion. All children up to age 7 must ride in a child safety seat suited to their age and weight.
According to the most recent data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 47 percent of people killed in automobile accidents were not wearing their seat belts. Some people mistakenly think if they have air bags that they don’t need to buckle up. The force from an air bag deploying can cause serious injury or death without a seatbelt to keep you in place in your seat.
The only thing worse than not wearing a seatbelt is wearing one improperly. Check out this step-by-step tutorial on how to secure your seatbelt as the manufacturer intended.
When you can’t prevent auto accident injuries
You can be the best driver in the world and still find yourself in an accident. If you are injured because of someone else’s carelessness behind the wheel, you have recourse. Consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney can get you fair compensation for your injuries. Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation.