Practically all drivers know that to avoid car accidents, they should keep their focus on the road, drive at a speed that’s safe for conditions, and turn the keys over to someone else if they’ve been drinking. However, there are other strategies for preventing car accidents. Some of them may be surprising!
1) Turn off Digital Distractions? There’s an App for That
Even the most experienced driver can be distracted when their phone makes noise or vibrates to indicate someone is trying to make contact. Good drivers will not pick up the phone when that happens, but their minds are still likely to be distracted. Who’s calling? Does someone need help? Should they pull over to deal with it now or can it wait? The mental distraction can be enough to prevent the driver from noticing a situation on the road that requires immediate braking or evasive action.
Fortunately, the technology that created the problem also now offers a solution. There are a variety of apps available that turn off alerts for phone calls, text messages, calendar alerts, social media pings and other potential distractions. Some apps can be customized so that they automatically kick in when a vehicle is in motion. Other apps can allow parents to turn off their children’s phones or employers to turn off phones while employees are driving company vehicles. Using the right app could be a lifesaver.
2) Learn How to Drive a Race Car
This suggestion may not make sense at first. Race car drivers dodge around each other at high speeds. How exactly does learning how to do that help prevent car accidents?
The key is that race driving instruction focuses on driving skills. While most drivers attended some kind of driving school before getting their licenses, those classes focused on the rules of the road. On the other hand, race driving schools teach drivers to gauge how their cars handle curves, braking, and acceleration. They also teach defensive driving techniques. Improving these critical driving skills can make it much easier for a driver to avoid an accident.
3) Use a Driving App to Monitor and Improve Skills
Drivers without the money or time to invest in race driving school could instead improve their driving skills through the use of a driving app. Some apps will give drivers a score and enable them to collect reward points for safe driving practices.
Parents often find it helpful to use this type of app when they have a new driver in the house. The app can provide information such as driving speed, location, hard braking incidents, and other data.
Some drivers also find it helpful to use apps that provide warnings when they are too close to the car in front or when there’s a vehicle in their blind spot.
4) Improve Night Vision
Many drivers find it challenging to see at night, particularly as they get older. There are several ways to improve night vision, some of which are very low-tech. For instance, one of the best things a driver can do to improve the ability to see traffic and other obstacles at night is to clean the windshield, windows, and mirrors, particularly on the inside. A vehicle’s defroster can kick a surprising amount of dust and greasy particles onto the inside of the windshield, blurring the driver’s view.
Other ways to improve night vision involve driving techniques. For example, avoid looking at the headlights of oncoming cars if possible because it takes the eyes time to readjust to the dark afterward. For similar reasons, try to keep the light level on the dash as low as possible.
Finally, equipment can make a difference. For instance, many drivers find it helpful to wear inexpensive night vision glasses similar to sunglasses to reduce glare. And don’t forget to adjust the rearview mirror to the night setting to cut down on the harsh glare from the lights of cars behind.
5) Upgrade Car Mirrors
Car mirrors let drivers know what’s around them, so any steps to improve that visibility can help them avoid potential accident situations. Increasingly, manufacturers are equipping vehicles with auto-dimming features that automatically reduce the glare of headlights in rear-view and side mirrors. It is pretty simple to replace an existing mirror with one that includes this technology. Another option to upgrade mirrors is to put in a wider rear-view mirror. In a vehicle with reduced rear visibility, such as an RV, it can be tremendously helpful to add a rear-view camera option to the mirror.
6) Avoid the Fast Lane
While we’ve all seen reckless drivers weave back and forth all over the road, they tend to spend most of their time in the “fast lane” of the highway. Not coincidentally, more accidents tend to happen in the fast lane. So staying out of the fast lane is a simple way to reduce the likelihood of being caught up in an accident.
Police are aware of this too. They tend to focus on the fast lane, so avoiding it could also decrease your likelihood of getting a traffic ticket.
7) Check Tire Tread and Pressure
Many drivers give no thought to their tires until something’s wrong. However, regularly checking the tire pressure and condition of the tire tread can be an easy way to help prevent car accidents, particularly in bad weather. Some drivers carry a small multitool that includes a gauge for measuring pressure and one to measure the depth of tire tread. In a pinch, it is also possible to use the penny test. Simply place a penny head-first in the grooves on the tire tread. The tread should cover the top of Lincoln’s head. If it does not, the tread is probably too worn to be safe.
Small Steps Can Add Up Big When It Comes to Car Accident Prevention
Car accident lawyers will attest that there is usually more than one cause of a vehicle collision. For example, one driver may be distracted at the very moment when another suffers an equipment failure. If you can take away one of the factors that lead to the accident, you can prevent that accident from occurring.
So, consider our suggestions for preventing accidents and add others. Invent your own. Just do what it takes to stay safe on the roads.