At Pierce Skrabanek PLLC , we know car accidents are going to happen. There is no way to entirely eliminate the risk of being the victim of a crash on Texas roads.
But crashes are preventable. If you follow these safety measures from our car accident attorneys, you may greatly reduce your chance of being involved in a crash. Our lawyers want to help Texas drivers keep their families safe.
Before Taking to the Houston, Texas Roads
There are several steps you can take before you even get behind the wheel that will greatly reduce your chances of being involved in a car accident:
- Position Yourself in Good Posture.
Keeping your back relatively straight rather than leaning back in your seat will better prepare you to react to any hazards or problems you may encounter on the road.
- Have All Mirrors Set For Best Vision.
Adjust your side mirrors and rearview mirrors so that you have a near-seamless panoramic view behind you. You should be able to see to both your left and your right, as well as behind you, with just the slightest movements of your eyes.
- Drive With Your Hands at the 9 and 3 O’Clock Positions.
A lot of people make the mistake of driving with one hand at the 12 o’clock position or keeping both hands at the bottom of the wheel. These are easy habits to slip into. When you have your hands at the 9 and 3 o’clock positions, however, you have maximum control of the vehicle and the best chance of maneuvering around a potential crash.
- Know Your Car’s Limits.
Pay attention to how you car reacts to certain situations. How does your car turn on sharp corners? How long does it take to brake? How much grip do your tires have? These are important questions to have the answer to and could be the difference in avoiding a crash or causing one.
- Make Sure Your Vehicle is Operating Safely.
Stick to your car’s scheduled maintenance routine, especially on older or high-mileage vehicles. This includes regular oil changes, new brakes, engine tune-ups and more.
Cars can fail and cause an accident in a number of ways. Blown or worn tires, tattered brakes and broken windshield wipers are all capable of triggering accidents — and are all preventable and easily fixed.
Most of us have cell phones on us all day long. While it may be tempting to text or talk to a friend while behind the wheel, put your phone down. Whatever the call or message, it can wait.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Institute estimates that 25 to 50 percent of all motor vehicle crashes have driver distraction as a root cause.
For this reason, we also strongly urge first-year drivers to drive around with friends. Not having anyone in the car with you as you learn how to drive not only greatly reduces your risk of being involved in an accident; it will help make you a safer driver faster.
Always follow the posted speed limit. Speeding can be especially dangerous for new drivers. Also remember that speed limits are based on ideal conditions. If driving at night or in the rain, reduce your speed below the posted limit.
Speed also limits the potential for damage if you are involved in a crash. For example, the injuries and damage caused by a crash at 30 miles per hour are likely to be less severe than those in a 55-mile-per-hour crash.
Driving at Night
Everyone, no matter how experienced a driver, should slow down when driving at night. Hazards are harder to spot, and poor weather at night makes driving even more potentially dangerous. Always consider avoiding driving at night.
Nearly 50 percent of all fatal car crashes occur at night.
Hazardous Driving Conditions
Fog, ice, snow, slush and rain all will affect roads and make driving more dangerous. If possible, don’t drive in these conditions. But if you must, please drive slower and be more aware on the road.
While You’re on the Road
- Wear your seat belt. Buckle up every time you hit the road. No matter how short the drive, using your seat belt can be the difference between a minor injury and fatal crash. Crashes can happen anywhere at anytime, whether you are on the highway or just going down the block.
- Pull into traffic slowly. With both hands on the wheel, always look both ways at least twice before merging into traffic. Cars can come out of nowhere in a split second. Always be extra observant and mindful of other drivers as you pull into traffic.
- Watch for people running red lights. It’s a good rule to always count to three before entering an intersection on a green light after waiting at a red light. Just because the light is red doesn’t mean a driver is actually going to stop. Drivers should also always look left and right before entering an intersection. This will help spot anyone coming from either side of you trying to run a red light.
- Keep at least one hand on the steering wheel. Try not to switch radio stations, use your cell phone or eat while driving. This causes you to take a hand — if not both — off the wheel. A strong gust of wind or hazard can occur in a split second. If you have your hands off the wheel, you risk losing control of your vehicle.
- Watch for kids. When driving in a parking lot or residential neighborhood, always be mindful that a child could be around. A child could emerge suddenly from between parked cars.
- Think 12 seconds ahead. It’s always wise to be thinking about where your car will be in 10 to 12 seconds. On the highway, this means keeping your car far enough ahead of other cars, so that if you are to move or stop suddenly you will not hit them. Think about where and when you will be turning and what’s around you.
- Look backwards when backing out. Minor accidents in parking lots occur all the time because people fail to look at what’s behind them while backing out. Don’t depend on your mirrors. Always physically look over your shoulder when backing out so you can see the blind spots.
- Check blind spots. Blind spots are the cause of accidents on the road as well. Always do a quick check to your left or right before making a turn or changing lanes. A car may be right beside you but not be in your mirror’s view.
- Don’t tailgate. Give yourself a three-second cushion between your car and the car ahead of you. On the highway, it should be even more. No matter how late you are, don’t be tempted to tailgate to get to your destination faster.
- Be courteous to other drivers. We all have equal share and rights to the road, so never drive as though you own the road. Don’t drive aggressively, and always think of safety first.
Need a Car Accident Attorney? Call Us.
If you or your loved one has been the victim of a car accident in the Houston area, the attorneys at Pierce | Skrabanek may be able to help your family. Call us today at (832) 690-7000, or contact us online.
There is no cost and no obligation to speak with a Texas car accident attorney.