Before a driver ever even gets their license, there is a strict set of rules and expectations that are explained to them. Whether it be at the DMV, in a defensive driving course, or simply through life experience, the perils of driving recklessly are well-communicated to most people before they ever get behind the wheel.
Unfortunately, some of these tips, tricks, and rules become an afterthought after several years of driving experience. One of the most dangerous things that a driver can possess is a sense of invincibility, and reckless driving is typically a product of someone who forgets how severely one mistake can change their entire life.
Understanding the Rules of the Road
One of the most obvious yet abused rules of the road is simple: do not, under any circumstances, drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Alcohol may get most of the attention in the conversation about DUIs, but there are many more substances that can impair your ability to safely operate a vehicle. Even painkillers, which are typically prescribed by a doctor, can markedly inhibit your driving capabilities.
If you plan on going out for the night and having a few drinks, you need to designate a driver in your group of friends or you can always get in touch with a taxi or one of the many car-sharing services that are available through smartphone apps.
Distracted Driving and Speeding
Aside from substance-related crashes, perhaps the most prominent causes of accidents on the road are distracted driving and speeding. These two driving mistakes go hand-in-hand for one key reason: they are completely avoidable. Speed limit signs exist for a reason, and failing to adhere to these posted limits will put you, other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians in a dangerous situation. The faster you go, the less time you will have to react to things like collisions and weather hazards.
Distracted driving encompasses a wide range of activities, all of which increase the likelihood of your vehicle being involved in a serious crash. In recent years, states have been cracking down on cell phone usage among drivers. You simply cannot drive safely while also sending a text or answering a phone call. When you text/talk and drive, you are not only endangering your own life, but the lives of every driver, passenger, and pedestrian you pass. Distracted driving is also characterized by putting on makeup, changing music, eating, or attempting to perform any other task that is not necessary to operate a vehicle.
Additional Aspects of Safe Driving
While all of these tips are fairly obvious, there are certain other aspects of safe driving that many people tend to overlook. For example, how often do you drive in the “fast lane?” A large percentage of highway accidents happen in the fast lane because cars in this lane have no “escape route” when things start to go awry. The fast lane—which is typically the lane that is furthest to the left—should only be used when the driver in front of you is traveling at an abnormally low speed or experiencing a mechanical issue. In most cases, you should only remain in this lane for a few seconds until you can switch lanes again.
Lastly, there is a certain level of awareness that every driver needs in order to stay safe on the road. Instead of just focusing on the car ahead of you, you need to look at the car in front of that car as well. As a general rule, your field of vision should land about five seconds beyond where your car is currently located on the road. This will help you to determine when obstacles arise and make the proper adjustments to avoid an accident. Also, while your rearview and sideview mirrors should be helpful tools while switching lanes, they are not absolute. Even if you think you are clear to switch lanes, you need to physically turn your head while keeping the wheel straight to ensure that no one is in your way.
In the event of an accident, contact an experienced attorney.
Almost everyone has been affected by a careless driver, whether it be through an accident of their own or the loss of a loved one as the result of a car accident. If you have been involved in a car crash, you need to get in touch with an experienced Alabama attorney immediately. With the help of a trusted lawyer, you can seek compensation from the parties responsible for your accident and start rebuilding your life. Call us today at Martinson and Beason, P.C. to schedule a free consultation, so we can learn more about your accident and help you get the justice you deserve.