4 ways to avoid an accident

No matter how careful you are to keep from causing an accident, though, there are thousands of drivers every day who are driving aggressively, intoxicated or looking at their phones.

According to TrustedChoice.com, you can step up your safety with these defensive driving techniques:

1. Avoid tailgating

If you are driving the speed limit, chances are high that someone will zoom up behind you and stay too close to your bumper. Whether because the traffic or road conditions will not allow the vehicle around or because the driver is aggressive and wants to force you to drive faster, a rear-end collision is all too likely.

You should already have at least two seconds of following distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. If there is a risk that someone will hit you from behind, you want even more space to prevent your car from becoming sandwiched between them in a crash. While you do not want to slow down drastically, you do want to make it easier for the vehicle behind you to pass, so gradually decrease your speed and move into the far right lane. If you are already there, you may want to drive to the right side of the lane to allow the driver behind you to see around you better.

2. Be aware of the big picture

You know what is going on right in front of you, but what about four cars up? What about the vehicles approaching you in the opposite lane? What about people or animals beside the road? What about the driver approaching a red light at the same time that you are moving forward on green? Stopping on a dime is not actually possible, but if you see a pedestrian dash out in the street 40 feet ahead of you, traffic suddenly comes to a standstill or a car is speeding toward you in the intersection, you may have enough time to stop, or at least slow and swerve. Remain aware of what’s going on far ahead as well as near you.

3. Watch out for blind spots

Part of scanning your environment includes checking your mirrors frequently. For example, if you saw a motorcycle a ways back and now you do not see it, it may be in your blind spot passing you. Always do a head check before moving into another lane, and use your turn signal. If you are planning to pass someone, make sure you are far enough back that the driver can see you in the mirror, turn on your turn signal and move through the blind spot without lingering.

4. Maintain your vehicle

If your brakes are worn or your tire treads are almost gone, the best reflexes in the world might not be able to stop you in time. Make sure that your vehicle is in shape to perform at its best.

When you cannot avoid an accident, your defensive driving techniques may keep it from being as bad as it might have been. At least you will know that you are not at fault, and you will be able to receive compensation for the damages the other driver caused.

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