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The only driver you can control is yourself.
How are you supposed to keep your family safe when you get behind the wheel? You can’t protect yourself against everyone else on the road because you can’t anticipate everyone else’s actions.
Ideally, every person operating a motor vehicle would consider road safety as a top priority, but the number of individuals who speed, weave in and out of traffic, and tailgate show that this isn’t the case. People seem to have one priority: getting to their destination as fast as possible. Safety comes in at a distant second.
Accident Report Form
Sample post-accident report form to keep in your glove box - fill out at the scene or as soon as you can after a car accident
Download in PDF format
If you prioritize driving safety above all else, then you’ll know that most car accidents are generally caused by the inattention of other drivers. Taking some basic precautions can ensure that you are covered from all angles.
Carry insurance – as much as you can
Motorists are obligated by law to insure their vehicle in case of an auto accident. However, some states only require the bare minimum or only certain kinds (like Florida or Oklahoma, for example, which has among the highest percentage of uninsured drivers in the United States), and many people feel that this is enough to cover them in case of an accident. And really, who wants to pay more in monthly premiums?
But you’ll wish you’d paid those monthly premiums when you get into an accident with someone who is underinsured or uninsured. There is something called “underinsurance” that you can purchase as part of your own policy, which guarantees that if you get into an accident with someone who isn’t properly insured, your damage will be covered by your own insurance company.
Your insurance agency can help you understand exactly what you should purchase. Always plan for the worst-case scenario, even if it means paying a little more every month. That peace of mind will be invaluable if you get into an accident with someone who isn’t properly insured, because then you and your family will be covered.
Obey speed limits
Speed limits are determined through extensive research. Driving within the posted speed limit signs will not only prevent encounters with the police, but also decrease the severity of damage in case of an auto accident. While all of us loathe having to go 55 miles per hour when we want to go 85, and while we really want to feel like we’re racing on the Autobahn in Germany, there is a very good reason why speed limits are what they are. Unfortunately, we can’t all be guests on the Grand Tour.
It’s also a good idea to slow down to slightly below the speed limit when the roads are wet, icy or snowy. Even brand-new tires have been known to hydroplane in poor conditions. Drive according to weather conditions and always be on the defensive.
Pay attention to your surroundings
Some distractions aren’t avoidable, like passengers talking in your ear or billboards flashing by while you pass them. But talking on a cellphone or texting while driving kills thousands of people per year and is completely avoidable. Hands-free devices are now available to help drivers keep both hands on the wheel while communicating with others.
Meanwhile, red lights aren’t for checking your phone, putting on makeup or eating food. Just keep things in your bag until you reach your destination.
Seat belts are referred to as safety belts for a reason. The National Safety Council points out that using a seat belt reduces the risk of injury during car crashes by 50 percent. Wearing a seat belt before an accident is significantly less uncomfortable than wearing a back or neck brace for months or years on end.
Marijuana usage is legal in more places today than ever, but that doesn’t mean that driver impaired is legal or safe. Getting behind the wheel of a car implies that the driver can operate the vehicle safely. Violating this principle jeopardizes the safety of every person in the vicinity.
Designated drivers are often available for those who are inebriated. The police have extremely accurate methods of determining blood alcohol levels or narcotic usage for impaired drivers. These levels will be used as evidence should an accident occur.
Meeting each of these obligations will significantly improve the odds of keeping your family protected on the road. But if you’ve been in an accident, it’s important you speak with an experienced car accident attorney in your area today to make sure that your rights are protected.
See our guide Choosing a personal injury attorney.