Unfortunately, your chances of being involved in a serious automobile accident have been increasing. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 35,092 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2015—a 7.2 percent increase from 2014 and the largest percentage increase in 50 years. One reason for this is that more drivers are on the road because of the better economy and lower gas prices. However, many of these crashes are caused by negligent drivers engaging in unsafe driving practices. Fortunately, you can take steps when you are behind the wheel to keep your family and you safer—and reduce your chances of being a victim of a wreck.
Common Ways Motorists’ Bad Driving Causes Dangerous Accidents
Some of the most deadly accidents have a common cause: Bad drivers! Sadly, so many of these crashes are preventable if these motorists just drove more safely. Many of the unsafe driving practices are also considered aggressive driving, which can lead to even more dangerous road rage where the driver uses his vehicle as a weapon or pulls out a gun to injure or kill others on the road.
Here are some of the common ways motorists cause crashes that you need to be aware of and try to avoid:
- Left lane hogs. Beware the self-righteous driver hogging the passing lane. These drivers drive too slowly in the faster passing lane and refuse to move over into the right lane, frustrating drivers behind them and causing bottlenecks. This is a form of aggressive driving that can cause crashes when other drivers engage in risky driving to get around them.
- Hazard light abusers. These drivers flash their hazard lights to scare tailgaters or slam on their brakes to frighten them. Either can cause a chain reaction crash. While some tailgaters may be able to swerve out of the way, this can endanger drivers in adjacent lanes. In addition, tailgaters often do not have sufficient time to react to these drivers’ sudden actions.
- Right siders. The right side of a truck is called the “suicide” for a good reason. It is a huge blind spot where the trucker cannot see passenger vehicles. Drivers who regularly pass trucks on the right could end up squeezed into a guard rail or knocked off the road when the truck turns right or moves into the right lane—endangering others as well as themselves.
- Dim bulbs. When drivers do not use headlights in bad weather—such as rain, snow, sleet, or fog—or at night, it can make it more difficult for others to see them. Nighttime and poor weather conditions already increase the risk of an accident happening, and not being visible due to dim lights makes this even more likely.
- Magic drivers. These drivers expect you to know where they are going. They do not use their turn signals or forget to turn them off. Unfortunately, when they make a sudden turn, an unsuspecting driver could hit them.
- Speeders. Speeding is always dangerous because a driver does not have sufficient time to slow down, stop, or otherwise react. In addition, a speeding driver could easily lose control of his vehicle. These crashes tend to cause more deadly injuries because the force of the impact is greater.
- Tailgaters. A driver who is tailgating other motorists is often also engaging in unsafe speeding. When he tailgates, he is too close to the vehicle in front of him to slow down or stop when this becomes necessary and can cause a rear-end collision—even more dangerous on the highway.
- Drunk drivers. Despite all the warnings on how unsafe this practice is, drivers continue to driver when intoxicated from drug or alcohol use. Drunk drivers have a slower reaction time and impaired driving skills in general. In addition, they can be more likely to engage in risky driving behaviors, such as weaving between lanes, swerving without warning, and even worse, driving the wrong way on a one-way street or entrance or exit ramp on a highway.
- Distracted drivers. When drivers are eating, drinking, texting, talking on a cellphone, or engaging in other distracted driving practices, their eyes and minds are on things other than their driving. Unfortunately, victims of their crashes pay the price when they suffer horrific injuries or die.
Defensive Driving Tips to Keep You Safe
Defensive driving is a way of driving that can reduce the chances that your family and you will be involved in a car accident. It involves anticipating dangerous driving situations and being alert, patient, and cooperative when sharing the road with other drivers. Defensive driving techniques that can keep you safer include:
- Do not start your engine until you and all your passengers have fastened their seat belts.
- Leave enough space between your vehicle and others surrounding you so that you can escape a dangerous situation if necessary. Expect the unexpected, and plan for it.
- Slow your speed, especially in dangerous weather conditions.
- Follow the speed limit.
- Be alert and watchful when driving, including being on the look-out for pedestrians and bicyclists.
- Never drive when you are drowsy (it’s as dangerous as drunk driving) or when intoxicated.
- Check your mirrors frequently and do so every time you plan to change lanes.
- Look far ahead when you are driving to anticipate and plan for dangers in front of you.
- Never talk on your cellphone, text, or engage in other distracted driving practices while driving.
Even if you follow these defensive driving guidelines, another driver engaging in bad driving could cause you to suffer devastating injuries in a crash. You need an experienced car accident attorney to hold this driver responsible and to help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Fill out our online form or call us at 800-237-3334 to schedule a free case evaluation.