If you’re like most Americans, you use a car to get around. Our nation has vast networks of roads, and many of our cities, towns, and suburbs are car-dependent. You’ll find a car in more than 90 percent of American households, and many of us use our cars to commute to work every day. Unfortunately, our roads are not quite as safe as they are essential.
Car accidents are frighteningly common. Insurance companies estimate that we get into car accidents roughly once every 17.9 years. Naturally, some individuals may get into accidents more than others, but very few of us can expect to avoid them forever. While some accidents aren’t too serious, others can be fatal, as more than 35,000 people die on the road every year in the United States.
All of this means that those of us who rely on cars to get around should keep safety in mind. While there’s no sure way to avoid an accident, there are things we can do to reduce our risk of getting into one. Here are a few things to keep in mind in order to stay as safe as possible on the road.
Invest in safety when you buy your vehicle
There are things you can—and should—do to minimize your odds of getting into an accident, but you should always assume that disaster is possible. Experts at your local car dealership will tell you that modern vehicles are safer than ever, and they’re right. Automobile manufacturers have gotten much better at building safe vehicles, and new features and technologies have given our cars more power to protect us.
Still, there are plenty of variations between makes and models. You should check expert lists of the safest vehicles if you want to ensure that you drive one of the safer cars on the road. You’ll find that safety features are especially emphasized in vehicles that are designed for families, which shouldn’t come as a surprise.
You won’t have to overpay in order to get a safe vehicles. Many affordable vehicles, including economy cars and mid-sized cars, offer powerful safety features on a budget. Quick acceleration and convertible tops may be exclusive to the fancier vehicles, but safety is something that everyone can afford.
Make smart decisions to minimize risks and react to accidents
Your car isn’t the only factor in your safety, of course. How you drive and what you do during and after an accident will have a lot to do with how things end up.
You should consider taking a defensive driving course, which will make you a better driver and could even help you save money on your car insurance premiums. Never drive drunk; drunk drivers are much more likely to cause accidents on the road. Also, beware of distracted driving. Studies show that eating, drinking, and other distractions can be much more dangerous than many of us assume.
Preparation is also key. Learn what to do after an accident, and make sure that you know your legal options following an injury, say personal injury negligence attorneys. You may be able to recover lost wages and pay medical bills through a settlement or award. Speak to an attorney for advice relevant to your specific situation.
Car accidents are so common to the point that they are almost inevitable. But this doesn’t mean you don’t have to live in fear. Choose a safe vehicle, make smart decisions, and be prepared. Following speed limits and traffic regulations will help you stay safe, but in the event of an accident, make sure to remain calm and follow standard protocol to ensure the safety and well-being of all parties involved.