Defensive Driving: 10 Tips to Keep You Safe

Getting behind the wheel may be the most dangerous thing you do all day so it’s important to understand your risks and take safety precautions. In the U.S., car crashes are the fifth leading cause of death. So follow these simple safety tips to stay safe behind the wheel:

1.    Focus on the road: Don’t become distracted by cell phones, radios, kids, or any other distractions we tend to engage in on a normal basis. Focus on the task at hand – this means keep you eyes on the road, hands on the wheel, and mind on what you are doing.
2.    Don’t expect other drivers to see you: Just because you are an excellent driver doesn’t mean everyone else on the road is as well. You have to assume that other drivers may not see you changing lanes or making a turn. Don’t trust anyone but yourself.
3.    Slow down: The U.S. Census reported more than 30,000 deadly crashes caused by speeding drivers. The faster you travel, the longer it takes to stop and the bigger the impact in the event of a crash. Take it slow and obey the speed limits.
4.    Buckle up: Not only is it the law in New York State, it can also save your life in the event of a crash. Whether you’re going 1 mile or 1,000 miles, always remember to buckle up.
5.    When in doubt, yield: If you aren’t sure who has the right away, always use caution when pulling out. If you know you have the right of way but the other driver seems to disagree, give in and don’t get frustrated.
6.    Stop at red lights: This is a simple one but lots of crashes occur from drivers speeding through red lights in an attempt to make it through the intersection. Yellow means slow down, not speed it.
7.    Don’t forget about your turn signals: Always use your turn signals whenever changing lanes or making a turn. It’s important to alert other drivers of your next move. You could avoid a serious crash by using your signals every time.
8.    Don’t let road rage get the best of you: If you find yourself getting worked up in traffic or at reckless drivers, try to let it go. It’s often safest to back away and overlook the offense. You could get into a serious accident by letting road rage get the best of you.
9.    Never tailgate: Tailgating is one of the most dangerous things you can do as a driver. It’s extremely dangerous because it gives you much less time to react to a sudden stop from the driver in front of you, leading to you possibly rear-ending them. The NHTSA estimates that nearly a third of all crashes are caused by tailgating, and could be prevented with proper distance. Allow at least one second of lead time per mile per hour you are traveling out.
10.    Don’t drink and drive: Never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Not only are you putting yourself at danger, but you are also putting other drivers on the road in danger as well. Even if you don’t injure anyone or yourself, a DUI could ruin your life.


If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a motor vehicle crash, contact us today for a free consultation.