Top Five Safe Driving Tips from a Maryland Personal Injury LawyerDecember 23, 2013
The vast majority of car accidents result from driver error. Theoretically, at least, most of these errors could be prevented through modifications and improvements in driver behavior. What follows are some safety tips from an experienced Maryland car accident lawyer.
- Keep your vehicle in good working order. Almost any sort of mechanical error in a car can make an accident more likely. A faulty air conditioner may not seem like the worst thing—you can always ride with the windows down, or just sweat it out—but when you need to defog your windshield in moist or cold weather, your air conditioner has to work well enough to suck the moisture out of the air. Otherwise, poor visibility can put you at risk. Likewise, your brakes do not have to fail completely and dramatically to put you at risk. Soft brakes or worn brakes can increase the time you need to stop short, creating a greater risk of you rear-ending the vehicle ahead of you.
- Drive sober. This should not need repeating, but over one in three traffic fatalities in Maryland result from alcohol-impaired drivers. Even the smallest amount of alcohol—one beer, enough to raise your BAC to 0.02—can impair your reaction time and judgment. When in doubt, take a taxi, train or bus!
- Don’t speed. Speeding not only leaves you less time to react to unexpected obstacles on the road, but it increases your momentum and consequently the strength of any impact. If you think you might be late, either plan ahead and leave earlier, or resign yourself to showing up a few minutes late.
- Buckle (everything) up. When you are driving and trying to stay attentive and focused on the road, you do not need anything bouncing around the car. Properly secure children and pets, but also take care to pack groceries and other cargo in a way that prevents them from rolling loose or floating around. Loose papers and empty plastic bags can create particular hazards if you drive with your windows open.
- Stay attentive. More and more studies are recognizing that distracted driving is at least as dangerous as drunk driving. Do not text or make phone calls while driving—even hands-free phone calls distract. On long drives, take regular breaks to stretch your legs and refresh your mind. If you have another driver with you, switch places every hour.