I think it’s unfortunate that driver’s ed is not a required course for all new drivers. In my opinion, it’s too easy to get a driver’s license, without learning accident-avoidance skills. Learning how to parallel park and learning the laws of the road are important, but so is learning how to keep yourself and others safe in a potential accident situation.
In an effort to encourage safer driving, and maybe save lives, I have researched 10 ways on how to survive a potential motor vehicle crash. This is Part 1 of a two-part series.
Potential Accident #1: An accident about to be caused by someone else
Many accidents can be avoided if the “victim” was driving defensively. As a driver, it is your responsibility to anticipate potential problems, such as red-light runners, an oncoming driver making a left in front of you, sudden stopping on roadways and highways, and watching out for texting drivers.
Potential Accident #2: Unseen Pedestrians, Bicycles and Motorcycles
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 36% of crashes involved a vehicle that was turning or crossing an intersection. More cars today have thick roof pillars that hold side curtain airbags, making it hard to spot pedestrians, bicycles and motorcycles. To avoid this type of accident when turning or crossing an intersection, before turning the wheel slow down, check windows and mirrors, and then turn.
Potential Accident #3: Emergency Braking
As happens all too often, the freeway ahead of you is blocked because of some sort of accident. Know your braking system. If your vehicle has an antilock braking system (ABS), stomp and stay on the brake pedal until your vehicle stops. Do not pump the brakes. If your vehicle was manufactured prior to 2012, make sure it has antilock brakes. If not, you will have to use the brake differently, including the possibility of pumping them. If you can’t stop, you are following too closely!
Potential Accident #4: Steering with ABS
ABS allows steering during hard braking, but if you don’t know how to steer in this situation, it can create a problem. Tires produce their best stopping force when pointed straight ahead. Without ABS, turning while braking hard will cause the tires to stop cycling, thus reducing stopping power and the ability to turn the wheel. You must center the steering wheel BEFORE releasing brake pressure.
Potential Accident #5: Running off the road
According to NHTSA, about one-quarter of fatal crashes are single-vehicle crashes. Of those fatal vehicle accidents, an estimated 70% of them occur when drivers inadvertently run two wheels off the roadway and, in a panic, over-correct. This can cause the vehicle to spin and possible flip, or even turn in the direction of on-coming traffic.
If you find yourself in this situation, keep the steering wheel straight, while letting the vehicle slow on its own. Then you can smoothly steer back onto the roadway. Only use the brake pedal if you have to (if all four wheels are about to go off the roadway, or you’re about to hit a large object). Make sure you center the wheel BEFORE you release the brake.
Please follow these important safe driving tips if you are confronted with a potential car crash, and share with others so the info can be passed along. Thank you.
If you have any questions about this article or any area of personal injury law, please refer to the contact info below.
Also, if you are interested, please read my other personal injury articles at http://blog.petermillerlaw.com.
The Law Offices of Peter Miller
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Little Rock, AR 72206
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