Crash Prevention Tips From Our Houston Car Accident Lawyers
At Pierce Skrabanek PLLC, we know car accidents are going to happen. There is no way to entirely eliminate the risk of a crash on Texas roads. However, you may ask, “How can car accidents be prevented?”
There are several steps you can take to help reduce the risk of an accident. 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.
How to Prevent Car Accidents: Preparation Before Driving
There are several actions you can take before you even begin driving to significantly reduce your chances of being involved in a car accident:
- Keep an Alert Posture.
Keeping your back 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 both your left and your right sides, as well as behind you, with just the slightest movements of your eyes. Do this before you start driving; adjusting the mirrors while driving can be a distraction in itself.
- Place Your Hands at the 9 and 3 O’Clock Positions.
Many 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. This gives you the best chance of maneuvering around a potential crash.
- Know Your Car’s Limits.
Pay attention to how your 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? While many people don’t think about these issues, these are important questions to answer — it 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 several ways. Blown or worn tires, tattered brakes, and broken windshield wipers are all capable of triggering accidents — and are all preventable and easily fixed. Failing to maintain your own vehicle can affect your liability and damages if you end up in a crash.
Factors That Can Cause Car Accidents
There are a number of car accident causes. Many of these factors seem obvious yet still frequently contribute to an accident. Learning how to manage these risks is an important aspect of car accident prevention. They include:
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 stated that 2,841 people were killed in vehicle crashes in 2018 alone due to distracted drivers.
For this reason, drivers should avoid cell phone use while driving. Other distractions can include eating or drinking while driving, adjusting the radio, or even talking to a passenger.
Always follow the posted speed limit. Speeding can be especially dangerous for new drivers. Also, remember that speed limits are calculated based on ideal driving conditions. If driving at night or in the rain, reduce your speed below the posted limit.
Speed also affects 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
No matter how experienced a driver you are, everyone should drive more cautiously at night. Hazards are harder to spot, and poor weather at night makes driving even more potentially dangerous. Consider avoiding driving at night when possible.
Nearly 50 percent of all fatal car crashes occur at night.
Hazardous Driving Conditions
Fog, ice, snow, slush, and rain will all 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.
Additional Car Accident Prevention Tips
- 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 any time, whether you are on the highway or just going down the block.
- Pull into traffic slowly. Be extra observant and mindful of other drivers as you pull into traffic (such as when re-entering from the shoulder). With both hands on the wheel, look both ways at least twice before merging into traffic. Cars can come out of nowhere in a split second.
- Watch for people running red lights. A good rule is to 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, be mindful that a child could be around. Children are less visible and can emerge suddenly from between parked cars.
- Look behind you 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. Instead, physically look over your shoulder when backing out so you can see blind spots.
- Check blind spots. Blind spots are a major cause of road accidents as well. Always do a quick check to your left or right before making a turn or changing lanes. A car or motorcycle 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 to your destination, resist the urge to tailgate. Tailgating is a major factor in many rear-end accidents.
- Be courteous to other drivers. We all have equal share and rights to the road, so avoid driving as though you own it. Don’t drive aggressively, and put safety first.
Need a Houston Car Accident Lawyer? Call Us.
Car accidents can cause serious accidents and can be fatal in many cases. Pursuing a car accident lawsuit can be difficult without the assistance of an experienced injury attorney.
Car accident laws and court procedures in Houston can be different from those in other areas of Texas and the U.S. If you or your loved one has been the victim of a car accident in the Houston area, the attorneys at Pierce Skrabanek can help your family. Call us today at (832) 243-7392, or contact us online.
There is no cost or obligation to speak with a Texas car accident attorney. We can help get you started on the path toward your complete recovery.
Car Accident FAQs
Protecting yourself after a car accident is as important as taking steps to prevent one. In the event that you are involved in a car accident, you should:
- Seek medical attention immediately
- Avoid making statements to the other party and their insurance reps
- Collect important documents like police or medical reports
- Consider seeking legal representation
Preserving evidence in preparation for a car accident claim can be challenging, especially if you’ve been injured. A Houston car accident lawyer can help with these preparations and steps.
You might be wondering how to prevent whiplash in a car accident. There are precautions you can take to reduce the risk of a whiplash injury:
- Purchase a car with a high rear-crash rating: Newer cars tend to offer more crash protection than older models.
- Adjust the headrest: Proper positioning of the headrest can help prevent excessive head and neck movement in a crash.
- Don’t follow too closely: Tailgating can cause you to jam on the brakes suddenly, leaving no time for the car behind you to stop. It can also be “contagious” – cars often distance themselves based on other drivers’ behavior. Set a good example.
- Brace for impact: If at all possible, press your head back against the headrest before the moment of collision, to help minimize whiplash effects.
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