Negligent driving can cause a car crash at any moment. If this happens, it is important you know what to do and how to react. It is also important to know defensive driving techniques and to use them every day but it is especially important to use these techniques during holidays when people tend to be under more stress, and bad weather conditions.
The Tulsa car accident attorneys at The Edwards Law Firm have provided these defensive driving tips for you to follow and avoid a fatal car accident.
How to Avoid a Car Crash in Oklahoma
1. Be Cautious Around Other Drivers
You are sharing the roadway with many different types of motorists each time you drive. Although you may be a safe driver, it is never guaranteed the motorist next to you will have the same habits.
For this reason, you should always be cautious while driving and observe the behavior of surrounding motorists.
Do not assume that other drivers are aware of your presence or that they will follow Oklahoma’s traffic laws. You will need to be alert and responsive to other motorists every time you drive on a public roadway.
2. Avoid Reckless Drivers
If you notice another driver speeding, weaving in-and-out of traffic, frequently changing lanes, or behaving erratically, you should distance yourself from the vehicle.
You should use any method possible to stay away from a reckless driver, like changing lanes or slowing down to let the driver move ahead in traffic. It is often best to distance yourself until the reckless driver is out of view.
3. Change Lanes for Tailgaters
Tailgating is a form of aggressive driving that increases the chance of causing an accident. A tailgater has significantly less reaction time when he or she reduces the distance between vehicles.
If you notice that you are being tailgated, remain calm. You should use your turn signal to show you are changing lanes or pulling over as soon as possible.
4. Do Not Engage in Road Rage
Road rage is a dangerous driving behavior that causes traffic accidents and fatalities each year.
You should always stay calm and level-headed when driving. If another motorist attempts a brash maneuver in front of you, ignore it and continue to your destination.
5. Reduce Driving Distractions
Distracted driving is the leading cause of traffic collisions and was attributed to increasing auto-related fatalities in the U.S. during 2016.
Unfortunately, the majority of drivers find it very difficult to refrain from engaging in distracting activity while operating a vehicle, such as:
- Using a cellphone
- Eating or drinking
- Applying makeup or self-grooming
- Talking to passengers in the vehicle
- Using the vehicle’s features
- Adjusting the radio
- Searching for an object lost inside the vehicle
- Focusing on billboards or signs along the road
Even the slightest distraction can have catastrophic consequences. Before you drive, always make sure you limit the number of possible distractions inside your vehicle.
When you are driving, you should always remember that focusing on the road is your primary task, which requires you to be focused at all times.
6. Maintain an Adequate Following Distance
Keeping a safe following distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you is one of the most useful defensive driving tips.
By keeping a safe distance, you are providing yourself enough room to have an adequate reaction time that will significantly decrease your chance of a serious collision.
Always maintain two to three seconds of space between you and the vehicle traveling in front of you. Distances between vehicles can be measured by fixed objects found along the roadside, such as a bridge or tree.
Once the rear bumper of the vehicle in front of you passes the object, start counting until your front bumper reaches the same object.
If you do not make it to at least two seconds, you should slow down and allow more space to pass between you and the other vehicle.
7. Do Not Drive Impaired
Never consume any amount of drugs or alcohol before operating a vehicle. Driving requires the full capabilities of your motor skills, reaction time and decision making ability. Just one drink can impair all three of these cognitive functions and effect your driving skills.
If you are not in full control of your abilities when you operate a motor vehicle, you could cause a fatal traffic collision. For this reason, always have a back-up plan or a designated driver if you drink outside of your home.
8. Always Have an Escape Plan
It is impossible to predict a driver’s behavior or next maneuver. Because of the random and impulsive nature of certain drivers, you should always plan for the unexpected and have an escape route.
An escape route allows you to react to any possible scenario that may suddenly appear in front of you while driving, such as:
- Sudden stop in traffic
- A vehicle unexpectedly drifting into your lane
- A motorist running a red light or stop sign
- The driver in front of you suddenly applying his or her brakes
- An accident occurring directly in front of your vehicle
You should prepare for an escape plan by leaving more than enough room between you and the vehicles in front of and beside you. This buffer room will create a space that may provide you with crucial reaction time for any given driving scenario.
Constantly observing the road’s conditions and the behavior of surrounding drivers will also make you more aware of your surroundings. You will need to consistently review your escape plan while driving in order to be prepared and alert for all possible scenarios.
Consult with a Car Accident Attorney
Even if you are a safe and defensive driver, there is still a chance you will be in a traffic collision. If this happens, contact the Tulsa car accident attorneys at The Edwards Law Firm.
We will provide you with a free initial consultation with no obligation to hire our firm. All of our attorneys work on a contingency fee basis and will never charge upfront for our legal services. The only time we require payment is if we recover damages for your claim.