At Sam & Ash Injury Law, we understand that accidents can happen at any time and result in personal injuries that have a lasting impact on your life. As personal injury lawyers, we’ve witnessed firsthand the devastating losses that negligent drivers can cause families.
While you cannot prevent another driver from driving dangerously, you can take certain steps to minimize the risk of accidents and be better prepared for the unexpected. Below, we’ve listed seven defensive driving practices that can help safeguard your well-being.
If you find yourself the victim of an accident, call Sam & Ash Injury Law for legal assistance. Our experienced Las Vegas personal injury attorneys stand ready to fight for your right to compensation.
What Is Defensive Driving?
Defensive driving techniques and practices aim to reduce the risk of accidents by preventing them before they can happen. Defensive drivers adopt a vigilant approach behind the wheel, anticipating potential hazards and taking appropriate actions to avoid them. Rather than assuming other drivers will always follow the traffic rules, defensive drivers remain prepared for unexpected situations and take steps to protect themselves and others.
Seven Defensive Driving Tips
There are seven defensive driving practices that every motorist should know. Remember the following tips when you are behind the wheel to increase your safety on the road.
Driving requires full attention. Be well-rested and alert if you’re setting out on a long drive. You must stay physically and mentally alert to observe surrounding vehicles, traffic signals, and potential hazards. You cannot drive safely while struggling to keep your eyes open or under the influence of an impairing substance.
Just how much of a risk is impaired driving? Alcohol impairs a driver’s vision, coordination, and concentration. Nevada law prohibits operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or more. If you’ve been drinking, prioritize your safety and the safety of others. Don’t get behind the wheel if you have been drinking.
Evaluate the Situation
Continuously scan your surroundings and evaluate the traffic ahead of you. Look out for potential hazards, broken pavement, traffic stoppages, or erratic drivers ahead. By staying observant, you can prepare to respond to potential dangers.
Anticipate the Actions of Other Drivers
Anticipating the actions of other drivers is a crucial aspect of defensive driving. It involves continuously observing the traffic around you and predicting potential risks and movements that other drivers might make. This includes sudden lane changes, abrupt stops, unexpected turns, or distracted driving behaviors. For example, is a driver ahead repeatedly drifting out of the lane?
Before pulling into a Las Vegas intersection, after the light changes to green, check whether drivers approaching the intersection from cross streets are stopping in response to the red light. A defensive driver doesn’t assume that other drivers will always stop at a red light as they should. A defensive driver makes a point to observe that other drivers are braking for the red light before proceeding cautiously into the intersection.
By staying vigilant and aware of your surroundings, you can adjust your own actions to accommodate these potential hazards.
Avoid distractions while driving, such as talking on the phone, eating, or engaging in activities that divert your attention from the road. Stay focused on the task at hand, which is driving safely. Distracted driving causes many accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 3,522 people died in a recent year due to distracted driving – accounting for almost 10 percent of all traffic fatalities that year.
Drive With a Safe Following Distance
Maintain a safe following distance between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead of you. This allows you enough time to react and brake if the vehicle ahead stops suddenly. The NHTSA recommends a distance of three to four seconds’ worth. When the vehicle in front of you passes a fixed object, such as a sign, you should be able to count to three before passing the same object. If you pass the object before counting to three, you may need to slow down to increase the following distance.
Failure to keep a safe following distance can lead to rear-end collisions. According to the National Safety Council, rear-end accidents account for almost 18 percent of crash fatalities and nearly 38 percent of crash injuries annually.
Make Yourself Visible to Other Drivers
You can take several precautions to ensure other drivers see you and your vehicle. Most vehicles today have daytime running lights: low-wattage white lights on the front that automatically turn on when the car starts. While they are less bright than headlights, they help make the car more visible to other drivers. If your car does not have daytime running lights, you should stay vigilant in using your headlights as soon as it begins to get dark. All drivers should use their headlights from dusk until dawn, in inclement weather, and whenever conditions require it.
You should also use your turn signals to indicate your intention to turn in advance. Signaling provides crucial information to other drivers, allowing them to anticipate your movements and react accordingly.
Despite your best efforts to make your vehicle visible to other drivers, you can still find yourself in another driver’s blind spot. Blind spots exist to the left and right of vehicles behind the driver’s side view mirrors. Tractor trailers have blind spots on all sides. Avoid lingering in another driver’s blind spot.
Create an Exit Plan
If you spot erratic driving behaviors or other hazardous conditions, create an exit plan in case you need to get out of the way quickly. Check the area around your car, including adjacent lanes. Decide what you would do if you needed to change lanes, engage your brakes, or swerve around a hazard.
Get in Touch With Our Las Vegas Car Accident Lawyers
By incorporating defensive driving practices into your driving, you will become a more cautious and responsible driver, reducing your risk of getting into an accident. However, no amount of preparation on your part can prevent another driver from acting carelessly and causing a serious accident. If you’ve been hurt in an accident someone else caused, the Las Vegas attorneys at Sam & Ash Injury Law are ready to fight hard for the compensation you deserve.
You deserve What’s Right. Let us help you demand it. Contact Sam & Ash Injury Law today for a free consultation.