Car crashes are an unfortunate reality of driving, but they donít have to be yours. Here are a few things to think about to prevent an accident, and on-road considerations.
Scenarios to help you avoid a crash while driving:
Avoiding a crash when youíre stationary
If youíre stationary and turning from a main road onto another road, always have your wheels straight. This prevents you from turning into oncoming traffic if youíre nudged from behind, or you suddenly accelerate by mistake.
If youíre stationary in heavy traffic, always stay alert by using your mirrors to see whatís happening behind you. If others arenít concentrating you can use your mirrors to avoid them if they start to edge forwards or backwards.
Avoiding a crash when youíre moving
Swerving suddenly to avoid something on the road such as a lost animal is a common cause of crashes and accidents, especially at speed. Sadly, hitting that sweet Peter Rabbit may be the only way to prevent yourself being in a serious accident. Even if youíre an animal lover you have to think; him or me?
Keeping both hands on the wheel is a good way to help avoid a crash while moving, as it ensures youíre already prepared to manoeuvre in traffic. While you may feel dorky keeping your hands at the í10 and 2í positions on the wheel, that posture is invented for a reason as itís the Ďreadyí position for driving.
Avoiding injury when a crash is imminent
Sometimes heavy vehicles with trailers or caravans arenít used to managing the extra weight and end up out of control even in heavy traffic. If someone behind you is getting too close and theyíre honking and canít stop but youíre stuck in traffic, turn your wheels so your car is on an angle to get out of the way as much as possible. Youíll still get a ding in your car, but the slow speed and the new angle will help minimise the damage.
Always wear a seatbelt properly. This sounds so basic, but many people thread their arm over the diagonal belt as itís more comfortable, which makes the belt useless. If an accident is about to happen and you can see it coming, wearing your seatbelt properly reduces your risk of serious injury by up to 50%.
Prevent a car crash by:
1. Watching your speed
Speed is the most important aspect of driving when staying safe. Itís not only about sticking to the speed limit either, the speed you drive should also depend on conditions. Even if youíre driving in a 60km/hr zone, if itís very wet or foggy, you can adjust your speed so you feel comfortable and safe.
2. Donít drive when youíre tired
Driving when tired has a huge impact on your ability to think quickly, and is one of the main causes of fatalities on the road in Victoria, Australia. Did you know:
- If youíve been awake for 17 hours straight, you face the same risk of a crash as a person with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.05g/100ml. This means youíre twice as likely to have an accident as a person with a BAC of 0, or someone who is not fatigued.
Uber has become so popular, thereís no reason why you need to drive when youíre exhausted.
3. Avoiding driving in conditions you canít manage
Heavy rain, snow, ice and fog make your risk of being in a car accident much higher. As soon as the outside conditions are different to what youíre used to, youíll need to concentrate much harder to complete your journey. Staying home may be a better option, or use Uber of course.
4. Avoiding distraction
Smart phones are one of the best modern inventions, but they are also dangerous when paired with driving. Using your phone while driving is illegal, but many people still attempt to text and drive in slow traffic. Commenting on that cute Instagram post can wait.
Youíre a good driver, but itís easy to get complacent. Try the tips above to steer out of harms way and stay safe when driving.