According to the IIHS, there were 34,247 fatal car crashes in the United States in 2017, causing 37,133 deaths. This adds up to 11.4 deaths per 100,000 people!
In California alone, there were 3,602 car accident fatalities in 2017, according to the IIHS.
Something needs to change. As personal injury attorneys who specialize in car accident cases in San Diego and all of Southern California, we are consistently dealing with roadway tragedies involving negligence or recklessness. Even if non-fatal, the injuries sustained in car accidents can impact the lives of victims and their loved ones in permanent, devastating ways. What is perhaps even more tragic is that many of the injury cases we deal with could have been easily prevented with safer driving habits.
We want to do our part to make the roads safer – in California and beyond – so read on for some easy, everyday driving habits that can be developed to significantly reduce your chances of being involved in or injured in a car accident.
Don’t Drink and Drive
According to the CDC, about one in three traffic deaths in the United States involves a drunk driver. Between 2003 and 2012, 10,327 people were killed in crashes involving a drunk driver – just in the state of California. Designate a driver, get an Uber, don’t risk it!
Take Your Time Pulling into Traffic
It’s amazing what a few seconds can do when it comes to avoiding car accidents! Stop, Look, and Listen. Be aware of blind spots, including those in rearview mirrors and behind windshield pillars or highway road signs. When you’re at an intersection making a right-hand turn, look both directions at least twice before proceeding.
Wear Your Seatbelt!
What should be a no-brainer still causes far too many fatalities and injuries every year. Wear your seatbelt and make sure children are buckled up properly too!
Anticipate Red Light Runners
It’s a good rule of thumb to count to three before entering an intersection on a green light. Look both ways and be sure no one is trying to speed through a yellow light.
Always Keep at Least One Hand on the Steering Wheel
Remember that a second of losing control can result in a serious accident and a lifetime of injury repercussions. Reduce distractions by avoiding changing radio stations, texting, and eating while driving. A gust of wind, a pothole, or a blown tire can send your vehicle into another lane if you don’t have control of the wheel.
Scan 12 Seconds Ahead
Always concentrate on the area where you will be driving in the next 10-12 seconds. For highway driving, stay positioned with ample distance to avoid vehicles that suddenly stop or swerve.
Leave a three-second cushion between you and the car in front of you and begin your journey early enough so you aren’t tempted to speed to make up time.
Be Aware of Other Drivers’ Blind Spots
This is especially critical when driving among semis and large trucks. Large trucks have blind spots directly in front, directly behind and along each side. Remember that if you can’t see the truck driver’s reflection in his or her side mirrors, the driver cannot see you!