Tips for Defensive Driving & Accident Avoidance

In order to get a driver’s license or permit, everyone needs to show their state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) that they know how to drive safely. But with time, the safest driving habits can be forgotten or left behind, and even veteran drivers can endanger others when they’re behind the wheel. If you want to do your part in preventing and avoiding car accidents, review these basic defensive driving tips, hints, and pointers.

  1. Put away the cellphone: A rising concern for safety organizations – from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to the National Safety Council – is smartphone use behind the wheel. Each year, thousands of people are seriously injured or lose their lives because someone was reading a text or talking to someone with a hands-free device while they were driving. Simply keeping the cellphone out of sight and out of reach while driving will dramatically increase your safe driving abilities.
  2. Never speed: Another significant cause of car accidents is speeding. Reckless drivers trying to save a few seconds end up costing themselves and others months or years of their lives if they cause a high-speed collision. Follow the posted speed limits when safe to do so. In some situations, you may need to drive at a rate lesser, or slightly greater, than what is posted to keep the traffic flowing smoothly.
  3. Flashing red: When a streetlight is doing nothing but flashing red, this means that the light has gone out due to one circumstance or another. Drivers must then treat the intersection as a four-way stop; come to a complete stop at your limit line, count three seconds, and proceed if it is safe. If there are others at the intersection who arrive at the same time as you, the person to your right as right-of-way. Misunderstanding this rule of the road leads to numerous intersection collisions every year.
  4. Three-second rule: When following another car, leave three seconds of drive or more between you. To measure your distance, find a landmark on the side of the road and start counting “one locomotive, two locomotive, three locomotive” as soon as their bumper passes it. If you do not finish counting by the time you pass the landmark, you are following too closely. You should also try to keep the bottom of their back wheels within your view, regardless of how fast you are traveling.
  5. Check your surroundings: Frequently check your mirrors, blind spots, and adjacent lanes when driving. You need to know where you can safely maneuver your car in an emergency. As a general rule, you should check one location, such as left mirror then rearview mirror and so on, briefly every three seconds. You may have noticed a “three-second” trend in driving rules, which is used to keep things simple.

With the best efforts and excellent driving skills, you may still be struck by another motorist without warning. If you find yourself in such an unfortunate situation, you should call 417.313.1130 to connect with Johnson, Vorhees & Martucci. Our Joplin & Springfield car accident attorneys can review you case for free and let you know if you have grounds for a lawsuit. Be sure to ask about our “no win, no fee” policy!



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