With a staggering 6 million car accidents in the U.S. annually, it can feel quite risky driving on today’s roads. While eliminating every hazard or risk when driving is impossible, you can still do your part to keep Louisiana roads safer by following these defensive driving tips.
However, if you or a loved one has succumbed to injury or death due to an accident with a commercial vehicle accident, the dependable New Orleans truck accident lawyers at Cardone Law Firm are ready to protect your rights.
But the best way to avoid injury and pain is to practice safe driving techniques. Here are a few tried and true methods that can keep you safe on your next trip.
1. Avoid Dangerous Distractions
In 2015, 3,477 lives were claimed because of distracted driving. Although it should go without saying, texting while driving is a leading cause of car accidents. Cell phones are a distraction and need to remain out of access when you are behind the wheel. Distracted driving isn’t limited to cell phone use, however. Eating and drinking while driving is also considered distracted driving.
These all are things and circumstances that can wait. You wouldn’t want your last words to be “lol”, would you?
2. Keep Calm in Order to Stay Safe
Practice keeping your cool when you are on the road. A cool and collected head puts you at an advantage over other bad drivers. An unfocused or irritated mindstate while behind the wheel can lead to you being distracted during a crucial moment that may require your entire attention.
3. Keep Away At Least a Distance of Three to Four Seconds
Driving close to other commercial vehicles or cars on the road is a bad habit that can cost you a lot in property damage and personal injury. As is the case in most fender-benders, the person following close behind is usually at fault as they didn’t abide by the three-to-four second rule.
The three-to-four second rule essentially works by timing the distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. For instance, to get an idea of how much space is between you and the other driver, set a marker (i.e. building, tree, landscape marker, etc.), and as soon as the other driver passes it, begin to count up. If it takes you three to four seconds to arrive at the same marker, then you should be at a safe enough distance. Allowing yourself a safe distance of three to four seconds in between vehicles gives you plenty of time to react, slow down, or brake as necessary.
Of course, this rule changes if weather conditions are not optimal. Generally, if the weather is bad, you should increase the distance an additional second for every condition. For example, you should maintain the standard three to four seconds behind a car, then add an additional second if you are driving at night, and then another second if it is raining. At this rate, you would need to be at least 5 seconds away from the car in front of you.
4. Be Aware of the Weather Conditions
As it was briefly mentioned above, being aware of the weather is essential because it:
- Increases stopping distance.
- Increases the likelihood of skidding.
- Decreases visibility.
- Decreases control of your vehicle.
While the three-to-four second rule does help for avoiding car crashes in adverse weather conditions, it is always safer to stay home during extremely hostile weather conditions.
If you must travel during poor weather conditions, make sure that you clear any ice, snow, or condensation from the windows and mirrors. This ensures that you have an unobstructed vision of the road in front of and behind you.
Then, make sure that your vehicle is topped off with anti-freeze, and that your windshield wipers are working well, so that you are able to clear off the windshield as needed. Afterward, check out your tires. They need to have a lot of tread on them in order to properly grab on to the road, especially if the asphalt is slippery.
When you are driving, keep an attentive eye on to the condition of the road. Maintain your speed at as slow a pace as needed, and take corners slowly. Avoid braking hard or accelerating, and turn on your lights so that you can see the road ahead.
Lastly, if it is a sunny day, wear shades. This allows you to see through the brightness on the road.
5. Control Your Speed
=Refrain from accelerating and braking hard. These are clear indicators that you aren’t controlling your speed. Keep your speed at a steady pace, and accelerate smoothly when driving down straight roads, and always keep the three-to-four second rule in mind.
6. Keep an Eye Out on Your Surroundings
Check those mirrors frequently, and search for any pedestrians, bicyclists, stranded commercial vehicles, or stray pets that may be on or near the road, that you will need to avoid.
If you see a commercial vehicle driving recklessly, slow down or pull over to avoid it. If you can’t pull over or slow down, get off at the next exit if it is safe to do so, or take your nearest right on to the next roadway.
7. Have an Escape Route
Driving is all about putting yourself in a position where you can see everyone and they can see you, but having a Plan B is essential to safe driving. Have an alternate route that you can take if you need to avoid a dangerous situation.
8. Don’t Always Trust Indicators
It’s something that you’ve probably seen on the road all too often: someone turned on their left blinker but ended up turning right. Indicators, unfortunately, can be used improperly, leaving you to guess what exactly the driver in front of you is going to do.
Are they angled in a certain way that would indicate where they are turning? What are the angles of their wheels? Take a look at their vehicle for an indication of what their intentions are and maintain your distance until the driver ahead has completed their action.
Defensive driving can keep you safe on the road but Cardone Law Firm will keep you safe in court.
Should you have to fight against a commercial truck company because of an accident caused by one of their negligent drivers, the trustworthy New Orleans attorneys at Cardone Law Firm are the light at the end of the tunnel.
Contact us today at 504-522-3333 for your free legal consultation.