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Tips to avoid a traffic accident

It’s no accident that many motorists avoid collisions by applying basic safety principles on the roadway. By utilizing common sense and exercising precaution, you can keep from being part of the 90 percent of automobile accidents that are avoidable.*

Here are some ways to avoid being involved in one of the traffic accidents that happens every 20 seconds in the United States:

  • As the driver, it's your responsibility to drive safely. Be alert and attentive to the motorists and pedestrians around you.
  • Make sure your vehicle gets regular checkups including wiper fluid, brakes and tires; replace the wiper blades whenever they are worn.
  • Never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Always buckle up. The life you save could be your own.
  • Minimize distractions such as dialing and talking on cell phones, picking up items from the floor, changing radio stations or CD's, looking at a map or reading, and taking care of personal needs such as eating, drinking, or personal grooming.
  • Allow plenty of time to get to your destination, so you don't feel pressured to speed or disobey traffic signals.
  • Adjust your mirrors properly. Check the side and rear-view mirrors every 15 seconds while you are driving.
  • Be courteous behind the wheel. Don't give in to road rage.
  • Leave a safe distance between your car and the car in front of you. Most rear-end accidents are caused by following too closely. Use a 3-4 second following distance, except in hazardous weather conditions where you should increase your distance.
  • Before you turn left at an intersection, look around carefully. Look left, then right, then left again to ensure the area is clear. Always proceed with great caution into an intersection—even if you have the right of way.
  • Before you change lanes, check all mirrors and use your signal. Always watch out for other vehicles.
  • Obey the speed limit. Excessive speed reduces reaction time and greatly increases impact and injuries.
  • Maintain a constant speed. Don't continually slow down or speed up.
  • Be aware of road conditions. Make yourself more visible by turning on your lights at dusk and dawn, during rain, and in other adverse conditions. These conditions require slower speeds and much greater caution.
By incorporating these safety tips you increase your chances of avoiding an accident and getting to your destination safely.

*Source: Federal Highway Administration