Every year, car accidents injure and kill thousands of victims in Pennsylvania. For most drivers in Pennsylvania, getting into a car accident is a matter of when not if. While you cannot control the actions and behaviors of other drivers, you can make your own driving as safe as possible to decrease your risk of a wreck. Use these seven tips to avoid getting into a car accident.
Inspect Your Car
Before you head out, always inspect your vehicle. Vehicle breakdowns cause many car crashes in Pennsylvania. Brake failure, for example, can cause an intersection accident or rear-end collision. Other common car problems are tire blowouts, broken windshield wipers, broken lights and overheating. Maintaining your vehicle can keep it in proper working order.
Check the Weather
You should also check the weather before you head out. Pennsylvania can have rain, thunderstorms, fog, hail and snowstorms that make it dangerous to drive. Checking the weather before you leave can prepare you for what conditions lay ahead. If you aren’t confident that you can safely navigate a storm, stay home.
Follow the Rules
Broken traffic laws are one of the most common causes of car accidents in Pennsylvania. Road rules and traffic laws are in place to keep all roadway users safe. Breaking a law increases the risk of a collision. If the law requires you to yield the right-of-way to someone else at a four-way intersection, for example, come to a complete stop and allow the other person to cross. Otherwise, you could cause a car accident.
Speeding is a dangerous mistake. Speeding can mean exceeding posted speed limits, but it can also mean driving too fast for conditions. In bad weather, for instance, it is a driver’s responsibility to reduce his or her speed. A driver who is speeding may not be able to react quickly enough to changing roadway situations, such as someone crossing the road or coming to a sudden stop, to prevent a collision. Always drive at a safe and prudent speed based on the circumstances.
According to car accident statistics for 2019 from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,142 people lost their lives in crashes involving distracted or inattentive drivers. Never drive distracted or text and drive. Keep at least one hand on the wheel and your eyes on the road at all times. Do not chat with passengers, look at your cell phone, read a map, eat or drink, or engage in any other activities that will take your attention away from the driving task.
Beware of Blind Spots
Lane-change accidents are some of the most common types of collisions in Pennsylvania. Keep yourself safe while changing lanes or merging by traveling at a safe speed, using your blinker to signal to other drivers, checking the destination lane for other vehicles, looking in all of your mirrors and checking your blind spots. Blind spots, or places where your mirrors don’t show, can conceal nearby vehicles. Always look over your shoulder before changing lanes.
Practice Defensive Driving
Every driver should practice defensive driving. You can dramatically decrease your risk of getting into a car accident by paying attention to your surroundings and assuming that the drivers around you will break the rules. Continually scan the road ahead of you and mentally mark where other drivers are around you. Stay constantly aware of your surroundings. Be ready to hit the brakes or maneuver out of the way at a moment’s notice if another driver makes a mistake.
No matter how hard you try, you may not be able to avoid a car accident. If you get injured in a car crash in Pennsylvania due to a careless or reckless driver, contact a car accident attorney in Pittsburgh for assistance right away. Contact Dallas W. Hartman P.C. for a free consultation.