Many drivers drive around on autopilot because the task is so second-nature. However, this automatic behavior, in addition to some learned bad habits, can eventually lead to car accidents. Of course, some accidents are not preventable, but many of them. As such, here are six easy ways to avoid getting into a car accident when you’re out on the road.
1. Connect your devices before setting out to drive
Tedward is a well-known automotive YouTuber that put together a video about these driving tips. His first tip is to connect your devices and set up the car before you set out to drive. This means plugging in your phone to the USB port, setting up the navigation, and adjusting your seat heaters and HVAC controls before driving. Not doing so could distract you when driving, which could lead to an accident.
2. Drive slowly in parking lots and structures
Have you noticed that many parking lots and structures have speed limits? Probably not, but they’re there for a reason. According to CBS News, around 20 percent of accidents happen in low-speed parking situations. Slow down and make sure you get out of the lot safely, otherwise, you could be paying for more than just the parking fee.
3. Don’t slow down after getting onto the freeway
It’s a common practice among some drivers to hit the brakes right when they get onto the freeway. “Please, don’t hit the brakes. Don’t slow down. All those people behind you are going to hit you, or you might hit them!” Tedward exclaims in his video.
He’s right. The whole point of getting onto the freeway is to match the speed of traffic and safely enter, not slow down. Instead, keep your foot on the gas and ensure that you’re going the same speed as everyone else.
4. Don’t slow down for cops
Are you the type to slam on the brakes when you see a cop on the side of the freeway? You’re not alone, but you’re also not being safe. “Slowing down from 75 mph to 50 is completely unexpected, it’s completely unanticipated… Don’t stand on the brakes. You can lift off the throttle and slow down,” Tedward explains.
Remember that tip about going with the flow of traffic? The same thing applies here. By slowing down rapidly, you run the risk of disrupting the flow of traffic. The funny thing is, that cop probably wouldn’t have pulled you over anyway.
5. Remember to look ahead
Whether you’re driving on the highway or on regular streets, it pays to look ahead. Not paying attention to what’s going on 2 or 3 seconds down the road can actually lead to an accident in a split second.
“It blows my mind how often I see people charge traffic with no exit strategy,” Tedward says. You should definitely have an exit strategy or at least be prepared to speed or slow down should you need to in order to avoid an accident.
6. Don’t rely on the driver-assist aids
Lastly, if your car is equipped with driver-assist aids like adaptive control and lane-keep assist, it can be tempting to rely on them. After all, using them is kind of like having the car drive itself, but not really. You’re actually supposed to keep your attention on the road and the aids are there to “assist” you, not drive for you. Relying on them too much can cause you to not pay attention and possibly get into an accident.
Pay attention to avoid car accidents as much as possible
In short, it helps to pay attention to what you’re doing before you drive and while you drive. Make sure your car is set up correctly and don’t speed up or slow down too quickly. If anything, pay attention to your speed and go with the flow of traffic. Doing so will allow you to avoid any potential accidents.