While most people believe accidents are a random and unpredictable occurrence, studies have shown that anywhere from 86 to 94 percent of all accidents can be attributed to driver error in one way or another. Whether it’s a mistake made on the road or an error in judgment before you even start the car, accidents often result from an individual’s driving habits.
Follow these defensive driving tips to do your part in preventing accidents and increasing your safety:
We all know a car cannot stop on a dime. The time it takes to stop is a factor of three components::
It’s important to remember that these are figures for the ideal circumstance in ideal driving conditions. If you are tired, distracted or under the influence of drugs or alcohol, these times increase. Your speed also affects your stopping distance. For example, when you double your speed, you actually increase your braking distance by four times.
Before starting the car, make all necessary adjustments for maximum visibility and safety..
Cell Phone Use
Let’s face it, we are living in a fast-paced and high-tech society. It’s almost impossible to go anywhere without reaching for our phone to make a quick call or seeing someone turning a corner and talking on the phone. While most people would think of this as effective multitasking, research indicates that the improper use of cell phones is a safety hazard. In fact, it’s been shown that while using a cell phone, a driver’s reaction time is slowed by three to four times. The best and safest situation is to stop in a safe place when using your cell phone..
Remember—driving safely should be your main priority. If you cannot safely answer a call, let your voicemail pick up and return the call at a later time.
Being sleepy behind the wheel is dangerous. It slows reaction time, decreases awareness and impairs judgment. The following are some danger signs for drowsy drivers::
Tips for staying awake:
One way to practice safe driving is to allow an adequate amount of space between you and other vehicles. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by following the three-second rule.
Most accidents occur at intersections within two to three seconds after the light changes. Follow these tips to avoid intersection accidents:
It’s All About Control
Every day you get behind the wheel, there are factors under your control and others outside of your control. Be aware of the factors that you cannot control and concentrate on those that you can.
Some factors outside your control include:
Factors within your control include:
Know Your Route
Before leaving on a trip, know the route you are going to take. It is also important to always keep a current map of the areas you will be traveling through in the car for reference. If you need to refer to a map, pull off the road to a safe area, such as a rest stop or parking lot. If you are lost, ask for directions and, most importantly, stay in control of your emotions.
Reducing Motor Vehicle Crashes
Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death and injury for all ages and have a large impact on employees, their families and coworkers, and employers. The document below, produced by NETS, NHTSA and OSHA, is a joint effort to reduce motor vehicle-related deaths and injuries in the nation’s workforce.
Safety Belt Use
Safety belt use is required by law in most states. Just because your car is equipped with an air bag does not mean you can get by without wearing a seat belt. Air bags are only intended as a supplemental feature to safety belts.
The proper use and correct positioning of a safety belt minimizes most crash injuries. A properly adjusted safety belt has the lap belt positioned low and tight across the hips, not the stomach. If the safety belt includes a shoulder belt, it should be placed over the shoulder, not under the arm or behind the occupant.
The safest place for children in a car is the back seat with safety belts properly used. Most states require children three years old and under to be in a child’s seat. Check with your state officials for your state’s requirements.
Defensive driving starts with vehicle maintenance. The following items should be checked regularly:
The inside of the car should be well maintained, too. All items should be secured during use so they don’t become projectiles during a sudden maneuver.