With the high risk of being involved in a car accident, it is critical to drive defensively. Although you cannot control other motorists’ actions, defensive driving can increase your chances of a safe trip.
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What is Defensive Driving?
Defensive driving involves using techniques to reduce the risk of a crash by remaining alert, being prepared for the unexpected, and controlling what you can. Those include the following:
Leave early. Speeding is a leading cause of car accidents and traffic fatalities. Try to leave early to give yourself enough time to reach your destination safely. However, no matter how late you are, resist speeding.
Drive sober. Drugs, alcohol, or medication are a factor in 10% of fatal crashes each year.
Remain alert. Constantly scan the road to see potential threats and be ready to respond appropriately.
Keep a safe following distance. Forty percent of accidents are rear-end collisions. Following another car too closely or tailgating can increase your likelihood of getting into a rear-end crash.
Check for road hazards. Road debris, potholes, and cargo in the bed of a truck can become dangerous. Be ready to avoid road hazards by safely switching lanes or using your hazard lights and stopping when you can.
Avoid distractions. When you are behind the wheel, focus only on the road. For example, putting your phone on do not disturb, turning it, or putting it in the back seat can help you avoid the temptation. Distracted driving is responsible for hundreds of thousands of accident-related injuries each year.
Pass with care. If you need to pass another driver, wait until you have enough space not to cut another vehicle off or get too close to it.
Stay calm. Try to keep your cool no matter what another driver does. Avoiding road rage can help prevent your frustration from escalating into a severe collision.
Let drivers pass you. Lastly, let drivers traveling over the speed limit go past you and move over if necessary.
Defensive driving will not only help keep you safe, but it can also save you money in the long run. Accidents can be costly, especially if you contributed to or caused it. Additionally, you may be more likely to be pulled over and ticketed for a traffic violation. Both of which can end up increasing your auto insurance premium.
Car Accident Contributing Factor Statistics
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) reports the following alarming crash data for 2021 in Texas:
Almost 25% of fatal Texas accidents involved a driver who was under the influence of alcohol.
More than 134,000 collisions were caused by drivers’ failure to control their speed.
Driver inattention was responsible for 82,705 accidents.
Distracted driving caused 433 traffic fatalities. Common examples of distracted driving include talking or texting on the phone, eating, changing the music, etc.
Over 1,000 people were killed in intersection accidents, which are most commonly caused by a driver’s failure to yield the right of way.
613 people were killed in head-on crashes. The leading causes of these accidents are distracted driving, driving while impaired, confusion and driving the wrong way, fatigue, speeding, or illegally passing another vehicle.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident caused by another party’s negligence, speak to a Houston car accident lawyer as soon as possible. They can help you recover the compensation you need and deserve.