X things you should be doing to avoid a nasty accident on the highway
Our highways continue to get increasingly congested as more and more people now own vehicles. Drivers are now more vulnerable to serious accidents than ever on the busy roadways. This fact is revealed by reportssuggesting that around 1.3 million road fatalities occur worldwide every year leading to loss of valuable human lives and fatal injuries. Another study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administrationfound that motor vehicle accidents in the year 2010 alone cost us USD 242 billion in economic activity. The study also suggested that the losses in the form of lost workplace productivity amounted to USD 52.7 billion in addition to the staggering USD 594 billion lost due to loss of life and injuries.
These statistics can make people afraid of driving, but luckily, there are ways which can increase your safety on roads. Defensive driving technique is the best solution to avoid a vast majority of these accidents and abate the resulting financial, social and health losses.
In this article, we discuss the things you need to know and doto prevent a nasty accident when driving on the highway. Here is what you should be doing that will help you avoid accidents and keep the losses at a minimum.
- Follow the speed limits:
Following the speed limits may be inconvenient in times when you are in a hurry,butthese limits are not just arbitrary numbers. They are heavily researched controls aimed to reduce road fatalities and accidents. According to NHTSA, speeding is the second highest contributing factor in road accidents. The IRTAD Road Safety Annual Report2018found that 20 to 30 percent of nasty road accidents are caused due to inappropriate speeds.
In addition to these stats, staying within the speed limits can prove beneficial not only for your vehicle but the roads too. Speeding generally involves rapidly accelerating and braking which can lower your car’s performance and mileage. According to the Department of Energy, such driving can lower the car’s mileage by as much as 33 percent on the highway which can burden your wallet. So, the toll that speeding can take on you and the society overall suggest that you resist this urge and stay within the legal speed limits.
- Avoid distractions:
Research from New Virginia Tech published in the journal found that when drivers engaged in distracting activities, the risk of accidents increases by more than double. Distractions are anything that takes your attention away from driving. These include:
- Using a cell phone
- Reading or writing
- Reaching for something in the car
- Using the car stereo
- Engaging in discussion with someone while driving
- Driving while being angry, sad or highly emotional
So, eliminating the distractions while you are behind the wheel can prevent a lot of accidents and save you the burdens that ensue.
- Keep a safe distance:
Keep a safe distance between you and the car in front of you so that you have enough time to react if the car suddenly stops or makes a turn. Tailgating is a major cause of collisions,and on busy highways, it can result in nasty accidents. So, it is better to avoid getting too close to the car that is in front of you, no matter how frustratingly slow it might be.Becausethe few extra yards can be a difference between a crash and safe stopping.
- Perform regular vehicle maintenance:
It is extremely vital that you carry out regular maintenance on your vehicle. Change the engine oil and check the tires on a regular basis. Keeping your vehicle well maintained can greatly reduce the risk of accidents. Failing the routine maintenance on your vehicle can lead to serious problems in the future that leave your vehicle more prone to accidents. Besides, it deteriorates the driving quality of the vehicle,and the seemingly minor problems can lead to you being greatly out of pocket in the future.
However, if the cost of repairs seems more than the actual worth of the car, you always have the option to say goodbye to the vehicle. Many websites offer a range of options to people who are looking to sell or scrap their cars. The scrap car UK industry alone scraps 2 million vehicles annually,and there is no surprise that your car will also end up on a scrapheap one day.
- Take precautions in bad weather:
Driving in fog, heavy rain, snow or on slippery roads are not suitable driving conditions. You are more prone to accidents in bad weather than when driving in normal weather conditions. Therefore, you need to be extra cautious and vigilant to avoid a crash in bad weather. Drive slower, keep more gap between vehicles and a little extra care than usual can be helpful in such unfavorable conditions. If the visibility is too low, it is prudent to pull over for some time and wait until things get normal.
- Always wear your seatbelt:
Wearing a seat beltreduces the risk ofsuffering a fatal injury in car crashes by as much as 60 percent. Therefore, you must always wear your seatbelt and make sure the passengers are buckled up as well. Statistics related to accidents from 2015 found that among the 35,092 crash-related deaths, 48 percent of them were not wearing their seatbelts. Use of seat belt saved the lives of an estimated 13,941 people in 2015.
- Avoid driving under the influence of drugs:
Drugs slow down the reflexes and disrupt the ability to make accurate judgments. It deteriorates the mental awareness after which you cannot completely focus on driving. This is why some of the nastiest accidents involve a driver driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
The Bottom Line:
Of course, accidents can never be eliminated completely. They will continue to happen due to bad weather, road conditions, wayward animals,etc.; however, its frequency can be declined. Though the current percentage is startlingly high, studies found that about 94 percent of these occur due to human error and therefore can be avoided. By following these simple tips and being sensible behind the wheel, it is ensured that you will be safe at the end of your journey.