Car accidents happen every day and in busy cities, every hour. Do you know what you can do to drive cautiously and do you know the most common types of mistakes that drivers make that make them susceptible to accidents?
Here are some of the most common causes of accidents together with some suggestions for how they can be avoided:
Distracted Driving: Do you always give your full attention to driving? What about when you have to adjust the radio, attend to noise coming from the back seat, flashy cars that drive by, cell phone or technology use, or even to look at a map, sign or even a billboard? As drivers, we will always have some level of distraction, but we can minimize it by planning ahead, pulling over, or at least by driving slower when we know we aren’t concentrating fully. There are new distracted driving laws in almost every province in Canada, so hopefully this will help!
Tailgating: We all know what it feels like to worry that another car will push into the traffic ahead of us and many of us respond by driving as close as possible to the car in front of us. Most cars need between 120 and 150 feet to stop when moving at a speed of 60 MPH, so driving too close to another car can increase the chances of an accident if the leading car has to stop immediately. The best following distance is, thus, 150 feet on an open road and about half of that in heavy traffic.
Running Yellow or Red lights or Not coming to complete stops at stop signs: If others expect you to stop and you don’t, you leave them with very little time to compensate for your error. Getting home one minute earlier than you will if you stop at the red light is just not worth the risk. Re-think making that light before it changes, as you never know who might be waiting as well (oncoming traffic trying to turn for example).
Lane Changing: Avoid excessive lane changing in heavy traffic. Studies have shown that frequent lane changers do not make it to their destinations any faster than those who sit patiently in their own lane. But if you want to change lanes, keep two things in mind. First, before changing lanes, quickly glance next to you and over your shoulder to check blind spots that your rear view mirror doesn’t cover. The fact that you don’t see a car in you rear view mirror does not mean it is not there. Secondly, always use a turn signal before and during your move.
Speeding: Speeding decreases the time needed to adjust to unexpected events on the road, and speeding in poor weather conditions is especially risky. When it starts raining or inclement weather strikes, immediately reduce your speed. Getting home alive is more important than getting home a few minutes earlier.
Driver fatigue: Have you ever been so tired when driving that you might have closed your eyes temporarily? This is a very common mistake and one that can have deadly results. Drivers can drift into other lanes, colliding with other vehicles, or drive off roads at very fast speeds.
Keep these common driver errors in mind when driving to make sure that you drive and arrive safe!