Many people drive unconcerned of accident risks because driving is second-nature to them, and they may even feel invincible in the familiarity of their car. That is, until an accident changes everything. In our time handling these claims, we have come across a number of simple steps drivers can take to help prevent a crash of their own.
As an experienced personal injury law firm that boasts five attorneys selected for inclusion in Best Lawyers in America© among other recognition for our work in personal injury law, we have active car accident practices serving the Washington, D.C. area. Our firm sees people every day who have had their lives turned upside down in a split second due to auto accidents, which is why we offer these top ten tips on how to prevent a crash or avoid car accidents.
Personal Injury Attorneys Offer Years of Insight on How to Prevent a Crash
- If you plan to drive in DC and do not do so on a regular basis, familiarize yourself with the grid system and thoroughly review the route before you get behind the wheel. Many car and pedestrian accidents happen in and around the District because of unfamiliar drivers who do not understand how roundabouts work or get distracted by all the sights.
- Keep your eyes on the road by using a spoken-word GPS device instead of just the map on your smartphone or silent GPS. Also, remember GPS devices, while incredibly convenient, are not 100 percent accurate! It sounds crazy, but accidents have happened because people blindly listen to the GPS instead of using their own eyes to see closed roads, construction zones or other hazards.
- Regarding mirror placement, despite popular belief, your own car should not be visible in your side mirrors. If it is, angle the mirrors outward so no portion of your car door is in the mirror. Having a good understanding of your car’s blind spots can help prevent many types of accidents, particularly motorcycle accidents, which can occur when a driver changes lanes and does not see the vehicle in the blind spot.
- Understand the difference between your car’s high beams and low beams. High beams are good for rural roads where there is no other traffic or lights. Low beams should be used in rain, snow, and fog. Using the wrong beams can cause light to reflect back into your eyes, or other drivers’ eyes.
- Although you already know not to use a handheld phone for talking or text messaging while driving, it is also distracting to speak to someone on a hands-free device. The phone can wait—trust us, the call is not that important! If it is, pull over.
- Stay away from trucks on the highway as much as possible. Do not tailgate a semi-truck or attempt to speed to pass a truck. If the 18 wheeler is speeding, let it go ahead and stay 20 to 25 car lengths, or about 4 seconds, behind to stay out of a truck driver’s blind spot. If there is bad weather, try to stay farther away.
- Keep up with proper maintenance of the car, particularly if you plan to take a road trip. Have the car checked and routine maintenance done, including oil changes and brake, lights and fluid replacements.
- Regularly check the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or other reputable car safety sites to learn of any vehicle recalls and address these recalls as soon as possible. The NHTSA allows you to sign up for email alerts for future recalls on up to five vehicles, child car seats, and defective tires. Speaking of tires…
- Make sure your tires are in good shape. Help yourself avoid tire blowouts by correctly patching any holes, rotating tires on a regular basis and replacing tires that are worn out. Check the tread on a regular basis, particularly before winter arrives.
- Minimize the times you must drive in inclement weather. If there is heavy rain, snow, ice or sleet, stay home if possible and/or consider alternate forms of transportation, such as the subway or commuter train.
In addition to these tips on how to prevent a crash, every motorist should double check their insurance policies. If you do not have uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance, get that coverage now. Having UM/UIM coverage is the best way to protect yourself and your family in the event of an accident.
Car Accident Attorneys with Offices in Washington, D.C.
Of course, accidents can and do happen every day, even to the safest drivers. If you have been hurt in a car wreck, reach out to us for a free case review. Before you give a recorded statement to an insurance company, get legal advice from the car accident law firm Koonz, McKenney, Johnson & DePaolis L.L.P. about your rights under the law. The insurance companies are not on your side—but we are. Call us directly or fill out our online contact form to have our office get back to you soon.