By the time you’ve finished your latest “Game of Thrones” episode, at least three cars (and, sadly, a person in each) have bitten the dust. After all, humans seem to do better on their feet than behind a wheel.
If you’ve done the math, you’ll have found out about every 14 minutes, someone dies in a car accident. We bet you don’t want to be next.
Lower your chances by learning how to avoid car accidents with these eight commonsense tips that people still seem to struggle with.
Join the fight of the century.
How to Avoid Car Accidents
We all know we’re supposed to keep our eyes on the road, our hands at 10 and 2 and our attention away from distractions. But statistics show that’s a lot easier said than done.
Then again, the extra effort might be worth it.
1. Don’t Text and Drive
Phone addiction has increased the number of crashes on the roadways. Why? Because we can’t stand the thought of missing that text.
There’s a reason teens are ten times more likely to wreck that brand new car you bought them, and it’s not all because of inexperience. In one study of 100,000 high school students, almost 40% admitted to texting while they drove the month prior.
But teens aren’t the only ones at fault. We see everyone from the soccer moms to frail grandmothers with their hands on their cells rather than on the wheel.
And since crash risks increase anywhere from 2 to 9 times while texting, we suggest putting that cell out of sight and only checking it once the ignition is off.
2. Pay Attention to Signs
They aren’t graffiti. Those big metal things with numbers, words and figures are for information.
Like speed limits. And zones prone to deers.
That’s why we should actually pay attention to those big rectangles. They have some pertinent information that might help us avoid our next crash.
Speed limit signs, for instance, give recommendations that take into account the location and any expected congestion. Areas prone to wildlife often have signs warning drivers of imminent threats, including anything from waddling ducks to dusk bat attacks.
(Yes, bat signs are real.)
3. Consider the Weather
Always take the weather into account. More accidents occur during rain or snow than sunny days. In fact, 21% of crashes are weather-related.
As you can imagine, towing companies break out the champagne whenever the weather gets frightening. A slip and fall lawyer also celebrates during this time.
Wet roadways mean tires can’t gain as much traction, and bad weather limits visibility. Don’t let the tow truck drivers have their way. Drive slower and check the weather before leaving home or work.
4. Avoid Congested Areas
Where there are more cars, there is more risk. And more road rage. For that reason, avoid congested areas when possible.
Studies indicate congested areas result in more car crashes, although they are less serious. Either way, you don’t want to be on the receiving end of one “hangry” person who’s been stuck in traffic for an hour.
5. Be Careful in Parking Lots
Parking lots are like Thanos is to the Avengers: downright terrifying.
Of all the places you drive, parking lots are the most dangerous. Most people tend to let their guards down in these areas because the speed limits are slower. Plus, you know, they’re so neat.
Nothing could go wrong with all those carefully painted lines, right?
Not so much. One in five accidents in the US occurs in a parking lot. Did we mention in two-thirds of those cases the reason behind the accident is a cell?
That good parking that lets you avoid the cold of winter comes at a high price.
6. Take Stock of Your Emotions
The Hulk wouldn’t be a good driver (unless you want to ruin your undergarments). And neither are you when you’re angry or upset.
Even the people who swear at that annoying car in front of them are more prone to accidents. As in, they have a 78 percent higher chance of colliding into someone else.
Root out your anxiety, depression and anger before turning that key. If it’s something you struggle with, make some healthy lifestyle changes to minimize it.
Try exercising, meditating or going to therapy.
But stay away from that wheel until your mind is clear enough to drive.
7. Get Adequate Rest
If you’re an adult, there’s a good chance you aren’t getting the sleep you’re supposed to. Many adults don’t get the recommended seven hours of shuteye they need to function well.
The results aren’t optimal when you’re driving 70 miles per hour down the freeway. Here are just a few examples of what a lack of sleep has caused in the past:
- The Three Mile Island nuclear accident
- The Exxon Valdez oil spill
- Many car crashes
Get the zzzs you need to avoid the crashes you don’t want.
8. Don’t Drink (or Smoke) and Drive
It’s common sense, yet people continue to do drugs and drive afterward around the world.
Take this Illinois woman, for instance. She was about to get her license back after it was suspended for drinking and driving. How did she celebrate?
By drinking and driving.
With the legalization of marijuana, we’re now adding other drugs to the mix. Even if you feel like you’re fine, call a cab or have a friend drive you home if you’ve been partaking in drugs recently.
It’s a much better alternative than winding up in an accident.
Good Habits Mean a Longer Life
Let’s kick the possibility of injury or death by a car accident to the curb. Learn how to avoid car accidents so you can live a long, fruitful life.
The easiest way to do that is with a little common sense. Limit distractions, pay attention to the road and keep your internal and external environment in mind.
But if you’re anything like us, we know achieving that zen-like state isn’t easy. Getting good rest helps a lot.
That’s why we’ve compiled four easy ways to get a restful night of slumber. Try them out and enjoy safer, easier driving.