According to the Florida Department of Highways Safety and Motor Vehicles, there were more than 400,000 car crashes in Florida last year. This number has been steadily increasing year-over-year since at least 2011. Car accident attorney Port. St. Lucie handles innumerable cases each year involving totally preventable accidents. Although you cannot account for the behavior of other drivers, you can take steps to protect yourself against their possible negligence.
8 Things You Can Do to Prevent a Car Accident, According to a Car Accident Attorney Port. St. Lucie
- Check your mirrors frequently. Researchers at the University of Texas at Dallas recommend that you check your mirrors every 5 seconds. This includes your rearview mirror, as well as both side-view mirrors. You should also check your mirrors before you slow down, while you are stopped, before changing lanes, and before and after turns.
- Also regularly check your blind spots and physically look backward while backing out. Do not rely solely on your mirrors or rearview cameras. Mirrors provide limited visibility, and it is important to account for all possible blind spots.
- Anticipate at least 12 seconds ahead. Concentrate on where you will be driving in 12 seconds, and take premature note of possible actions you will have to make, like a lane change or turn.
- Keep at least one car length per 10 MPH. This gives you sufficient time to accommodate the actions of the vehicle in front of you or execute an abrupt stop. This is especially important on highways, where vehicles travel at high speeds and often do not allow for enough room between their vehicle and the one in front of them, which can lead to catastrophic accidents.
- Perform regular maintenance. Ensure that your vehicle meets all safety and environmental codes, change your oil regularly, check your tires frequently (and change as necessary), and make sure that your engine is properly maintained.
- Avoid in-car distractions. Texting while driving is illegal in Florida, although a law enforcement officer cannot pull you over for that cause alone. When taking voice calls, use a wireless headset, or if you can, link your cell phone to your car’s speaker system so that you can talk hands-free. If you have children in the car, make sure they know not to distract you while you are driving, and provide toys or other activities to occupy them. If you confront a distraction that is impossible to avoid, try to pull over to the side of the road and come to a complete stop before dealing with it.
- Be cautious when using cruise control. The advent of cruise control technology has made long drives much more comfortable. Unfortunately, however, it presents new hazards related to decreased driver awareness and control over the vehicle. Always stay vigilant while using cruise control, and avoid using it entirely in rainy conditions.
- Drive defensively, and be courteous to other drivers. Dealing with other drivers on the road can be frustrating, and it may be tempting to respond with anger or aggression. These responses greatly increase your accident risk, however. Instead, maintain a calm attitude and be courteous to others. We all share the road, and it benefits all of us to maintain them as a civil public space.
Be Prepared in Case of an Accident
Even if you follow these guidelines, you are still at risk of being involved in an accident every time you get into your car. You must ensure your car is equipped with safety equipment like airbags, and that you always wear your safety belt. Keep a first-aid kit and safety equipment in your trunk, just in case.
If you are injured and require expensive medical attention, a car accident attorney in Port St. Lucie can advise you of your legal recourse going forward.