Nobody plans – or wants – to be involved in a car wreck. But unfortunately, accidents do happen. And while many circumstances that cause car accidents are beyond our control, there are some things you can do to help avoid car accidents.
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Many of these tips you probably already know, but for one reason or another, you no longer do them. And because many of us no longer do them, we are increasing the odds of having a wreck. Here are some of the most common – and most forgotten – ways to avoid car accidents.
1. Keep Your Hands at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock
One of the things I remember being told from when I first learned to drive is to keep my hands at the 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock positions on the steering wheel with my arms slightly bent. And while most of us remember learning this, we don’t do it. Instead, we tend to move our hands to other positions or drive with just one hand.
Well, it turns out there is a good reason why we were taught this, and it’s not just for comfort. This position actually allows you to make the most coordinated and quickest response during an emergency.
2. Ensure Proper Posture
Growing up we were all told to stand up straight and sit with good posture. When it comes to driving, proper posture is also very important. In order to maintain control of your vehicle, you need to put yourself in the best possible position so that you can easily reach the steering wheel and floor pedals at all times. The seat should be high enough so you can comfortably see the road and instruments. The seat should also be close enough so that you can reach and operate all the foot pedals without coming away from the seat back.
3. Adjust Your Mirrors to the Proper Position
Your mirrors are there to help you see as much as the road behind and to the side of you as possible. Here’s an easy tip to ensure your mirrors are correct: when a car leaves the field of vision of your rearview mirror, you should be able to see it immediately in one of your side mirrors.
4. Pay Attention to Traffic and Anticipate Unexpected Changes
When driving you should always be paying attention to the cars immediately around you as well as the flow of traffic. In many cases, you can be made aware of an emergency ahead just by watching the flow of the vehicles several yards in front of you.
5. Learn Your Blind Spots
Every car has at least one blind spot. You should learn yours as soon as you buy the vehicle or drive an unfamiliar one. Always remember to both check your mirrors AND turn your head to look over your shoulder to make sure a lane is clear before moving over.
6. Avoid Tailgating
When you are following too closely to any vehicle, you are not going to have enough time to stop or maneuver quickly if needed. Therefore, you should always maintain at least a 4-second lead (one car length space) between you and the vehicle in front of you at all times. In bad weather, it’s smart to increase that lead to at least 6-seconds.
7. Avoid Speeding
Speed limits are there for a reason. Excessive speed reduces your reaction time and increases the likelihood of an accident. Remember, it only takes a second for an accident to happen.
8. Avoid Distracted Driving
While most people think of distracted driving as driving under the influence, there’s a lot more to it than that. Distracted driving includes anything that takes your attention from the road. Texting, fiddling with the radio, adjusting your GPS, and even eating are all considered distracted driving and can result in an accident.
9. Keep Your Vehicle Properly Maintained
Poor vehicle maintenance can cause an accident in a number of ways, including blown tires, worn brakes, and broken windshield wipers. Keeping your vehicle properly maintained will not only keep it running longer, but it can also help you avoid car accidents, too.
For readers in Lexington Park, MD, the certified mechanics at the Fitzgerald Auto Mall service department can help ensure that your car is always properly maintained. Make your appointment today.