Nobody intends to get into a car accident, but, unfortunately, it happens. According to the most recent data from the City of Jacksonville, 87 people died in Jacksonville as a result of car collisions in 2011. Obeying speed limits and following traffic laws are obvious ways to reduce your chances of being in a car wreck, but here are some additional suggestions to make your commute a safer one.
Eliminate all distractions. In 2011, more than 3,000 people lost their lives due to distracted driving. So put down that cell phone and mute it when driving so you will not be tempted to look at it. Although texting and talking on the phone are the most common types of distracted driving, other distractions, such as eating, grooming, looking at a map, or simply talking to a passenger, can result in taking your eyes off the road. It only takes a split second of driver inattention to cause an accident.
Avoid traveling in the fast lane. Most highway accidents happen in the left lane, according to Edmunds.com. Stick to the middle or right lanes. Doing so gives you more options if you need to pull over or switch lanes quickly. Traffic may be travel a slower than it does in the left lane, but your odds of arriving safely increase. As of July 1, drivers going too slowly (10 miles per hour slower than the speed limit) in the left lane can actually get ticketed if they fail to move over to the right lane.
Be observant. Keep an eye on the cars around you. Frequently scan your rearview and side mirrors to monitor drivers in front, beside and behind you. Being aware of your surroundings increases your chances of seeing a problem early on and gives you more time to react.
Resist the urge to tailgate. Many people who consider themselves safe drivers tailgate frequently. This can easily lead to a rear-end collision, which is the most common type of car accident not only in Jacksonville, but in the country as a whole. Tailgating is never a good idea, even if the driver in front of you is going slower than you would like. Doing so can earn you a ticket and points on your driving record. Make sure you allow at least one car length between you and the car in front of you for every 10 miles per hour you are going. (Seventy miles per hour means seven car lengths between you and the car in front of you.)
Be aware of blind spots. Do not make abrupt lane changes. Before changing lanes, look in your side mirrors and turn your head to make sure nobody is in your blind spot. Also, be aware of other drivers’ blind spots (especially large trucks) and minimize the amount of time you spend in those areas. And do not forget to use your turn signal when changing lanes.
Why not play it safe and follow these tips? We can all do our part to make Jacksonville’s roads safer.
Written by Elizabeth Allen
If you have been injured in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, give our personal injury lawyers a call. We can help you determine if you have a case and help you get reimbursed for your damages if you do. You pay nothing unless we make a recovery on your behalf.