According to statistics, a fatal car crash occurs in some places in the United States every nine hours. And shockingly, for each person who is killed, there are about 50 injuries from traffic accidents. Each person who receives their driving license commits to the driving laws in their state.

Following traffic laws is crucial, even if you may think they seem unimportant. For example, do not overtake on a solid driving line, yield when the sign is shown, and never run a red light. But, beyond following the usual driving laws, including not drink under the influence of drugs or alcohol, are there steps you can take to protect yourself from serious accidents? Definitely!

1. Avoid distracted driving

Officially known as distracted driving, the most important step that could prevent serious injury is that you should not take your attention off the roads. The dangers of using smartphones and GPS, assisting kids in the backseat, and even eating food are significant. Ask a passenger for help or wait until the vehicle is motionless are simple steps that can be taken preventatively.

2. Stick to the speed limit

Speeding is a complex factor leading to car accidents, as it may not necessarily cause the crash, but can turn minor incidents into fatal events. On every road, there may be minor occurrences that could become fatal at speed. Uneven roads, potholes, sharp or unexpected corners/turns in the road and even animal crossings may not be avoidable if you are driving over the limit. Remember, the specific speed limits are set that way with concern and measure โ€“ the faster you drive, the slower your reaction time. Therefore, sticking to the speed limit is a highly effective accident prevention tip.

3. Switch headlights on when necessary

A simple, yet effective recommendation is to switch headlights on in conditions that may affect other driversโ€™ ability to see your vehicle clearly. At dusk, dawn, during snowy conditions, or rain, headlights allow your car greater visibility and therefore, greatly reduce your risk of a serious accident.

4. Be vigilant at night

With many logistics and delivery transport companies driving across state or country at night, there are a higher number of semi-trailer trucks on the road. As these heavy truck accidents can much more easily turn fatal, legal experts at advise taking great caution while driving, especially at night. According to extensive 2019 crash reporting, over half (51%) of fatal car crashes in Alabama occur at night. And if the accident involves a heavy truck, as may be the risk for night-driving, the long-term damage may still be enormous. Financial, medical, and emotional costs from a motor vehicle accident can scar for life.

Are you alert enough on the roads?

In terms of night driving, specifically, there are many more contributing factors that make the conditions more dangerous than other times, but the overarching warning from experts is to err on the side of caution: ensuring alertness and attentiveness however possible. 

One important measure that could be taken is having a โ€˜co-driverโ€™ passenger, someone who is watching the roads carefully with you to look out for any dangerous obstacles or to warn you if they feel your driving may be unsafe. If you are driving alone, opening your windows or turning on your radio may help you feel more alert at the wheel.

Another crucial consideration is that if youโ€™re feeling tired, fatigued, drowsy or unalert โ€“ rest. Do not hesitate to ask someone else to take over for you or pull over at a rest stop to have a power nap or rest a while. Regaining some energy may be the difference between life and death.

5. Keep the vehicle in good working condition

Lastly, a step that is often neglected is to have your car functioning optimally โ€“ with nothing broken, damaged, or simply inoperative. Servicing your vehicle regularly and on time, fixing brake lights, and ensuring that your electronics (for warning signals) are all in working well is an easy measure that could prevent a tragedy involving motor vehicles.

6. Strap in for the ride

Wearing a safety restraint is one of the most underrated driving rules. And though it may seem like an obvious recommendation, reading the crash statistics does not suggest that it is…

Unfortunately, of all the average Alabama car fatalities which occur in vehicles with safety belts each year, almost 60% of fatalities were not using these restraints. So, before you head on your trip, make sure you are strapped in. 

Overall, if drivers remain vigilant, cautious and heed traffic and driving laws, the number of motor vehicle accidents can be decreased significantly. It is a priority for states across the U.S. to reduce driving-related injury and deaths, and doing your part on the roads will ensure more safety for all.

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