As car safety technology improves, and as the nation becomes more and more educated about how and why car accidents happen, auto fatalities and serious injuries have fallen across the country. However, according to the Nevada Department of Transportation, between 200 and 300 people are still killed in vehicle accidents each year on Nevada roads, while over one thousand people are seriously injured across the state.
How can you keep you and your family safe from car accidents and car accident injuries? While some crashes simply can’t be avoided, there are some simple steps you can take to increase your safety and decrease your chances of a collision or injury.
- Wear your seatbelt. There’s a reason that you’ve probably heard this safe driving tip before: seatbelts have been proven to save lives and buckling up is the single easiest thing that you can do to avoid serious injury in a crash.
- Maintain your vehicle. Drivers aren’t always the direct cause of car accidents. In fact, a significant number of car accidents are caused by malfunctioning vehicles or auto parts. Make sure that your vehicle receives regular maintenance and that you fix any issues that could make your car unsafe. Burnt out lights, worn tires, and broken mirrors are just a few of the issues that can lead to accidents and injuries.
- Use your peripheral vision. Although you want to keep your eyes focused on the road in front of you, it is a mistake to ignore what is going on around you. While driving, stay aware of what is taking place in other lanes, on sidewalks, and in the distance. Being aware of your surroundings can give you more time to react to an emergency and avoid a collision, especially with a pedestrian or cyclist.
- Don’t drive while tired. Did you know that driving tired can be just as dangerous as driving while intoxicated? Avoid driving very late at night or in the very early morning hours. Also avoid driving after a lack of sleep or after many hours of travel.
- Don’t tailgate. Rear-end accidents are one of the most common types of wreck and many of these collisions are due to following too closely. Keep one car length between you and the vehicle ahead of you for every ten miles an hour that you are traveling. In other words, the faster you are going, the more room you should have between you and your neighbor’s bumper.
- Watch your speed. You may know not to tear down the road at 90 miles per hour, but you may not know that traveling even ten miles over the posted speed limit can be dangerous and deadly. The faster your car is going, the greater the force of the impact. Look closely for speed limit signs and abide by them.
- Change lanes carefully. One of the most common causes of collisions on highways and interstates are lane changes. You can decrease your risk of a lane change accident by adjusting and checking your mirrors, by knowing your blind spots, and by using your turn signals consistently.
- Be aware of distracted driving dangers. With the advent of mobile devices like cell phones, GPS systems, tablets, and smart watches, distracted driving accidents have increased in recent years. Also remember that distracted driving includes eating, grooming, or changing radio stations while driving.
- Watch the weather. Although you can’t control the weather, you can choose to not drive during poor weather or to drive more carefully in poor weather. Know how to drive in inclement weather, check the weather before you leave on a trip, and slow down if roads are slick or if visibility is low.
- Don’t drink and drive. Did you know that about one out of three fatal car accidents involves a driver under the influence of alcohol or drugs? It may seem like obvious advice, but absolutely never get behind the wheel of a car when intoxicated.