How To Avoid Traffic Accidents

Speed is a major factor in many accidents. Driving too fast
for condition of the road, weather, vehicle or driver
increases your chances of having an accident. Reduce speed
during adverse weather conditions. Rain, ice, sleet, snow
and otherwise poor road surfaces can increase your stopping
distance dramatically. Add worn tires or brakes to this and
the distance increases further. Poor driving skills on top
of these other factors can make the situation almost
impossible. Keep your vehicle in good condition. Worn tires
and brakes can decrease your ability to control the vehicle
under emergency stopping and turning situations. Replace
windshield wipers regularly and keep the windshield washer
full and in operating condition. Dirty or muddy water
splashed onto your window can cause a "blackout" for several
seconds while you locate and activate the washer. Be
familiar with its location and operation so that you may use
it quickly and without taking your eyes off the road.

Wear your seatbelt. It will hold you in place during violent
maneuvers. You might do an excellent job of recognizing a
hazard suddenly appearing in front of you, realize there's no
time to stop, make an abrupt turn to the left, and then find
yourself thrown all the way to the passenger side of the
vehicle. What do you do then? You brace yourself for the
accident your going to cause trying to avoid the first one!
There are many other sudden happenings that can cause you to
thrown around inside of the vehicle, and once that happens
you're no longer in control. You become just another
passenger along for the ride. Speaking of passengers; buckle
them down too. Flying passengers can injure or kill you as
well as themselves. Get a physicist to compute for you the
effective weight of your 175 pound passenger when he hits you
in a 30 MPH crash! It'll scare you!

Stay away from other vehicles! That may sound silly, but
most accidents involve two or more vehicles. Try not to be
near those who are looking for a place to wreck! Don't
tailgate and don't allow others to tailgate you. If traffic
conditions are light (you L.A. folks won't understand this)
try not to drive beside other vehicles. They'll always
swerve right into you when they try to dodge that dog or cat
in the road! If a vehicle next to you is struck by another
vehicle, he could be pushed into you. If you're not in
"downtown" traffic, and can do so, spread out. (I know you
L.A. people are saying "what planet is this guy from?")
Intersections are the favorite meeting places for cars and
drivers looking for a place to crash. Always check cross
traffic before starting out on a green light. Someone is
always trying to get the last part of that yellow light.

Stay away from 18-wheelers at all times. Always avoid being
on the right side of one, especially near places where the
truck driver might want to make a right turn. Large
tractor-trailer rigs must, by the nature of their size, make
wide right turns. That is, they cannot make a right turn
from the right lane like smaller vehicles. This maneuver may
give the appearance of an open lane available for use by an
unsuspecting person not seeing the truck's turn signal. Many
a car and driver has been crushed by the trailer and wheels
of those large rigs. Another hazard of those big trucks is
retread tires coming apart on the highway. Have you ever
been beside one of those big rigs when an old retreaded tire
decides to blow? It'll get your attention fast! It can
cause some drivers to change lanes or slow abruptly. If
you're on a motorcycle you could be seriously injured if you
are close behind or beside on of these rigs when a tire
blows. We've all seen those tire remnants scattered about
the highway so be aware that it happens quite often.

All vehicles come from the factory with "blind spots"
installed free of charge. Know where yours are and always
check them before making a lane change. Remember; you can't
check them with mirrors. That's why they're called blind
spots. You'll have to turn around and actually look. Don't
ride in the blind spots of other vehicle. You're just asking
for trouble if you do. Parking lots are one of the best
places to find a fender bender. They're a good place to have
your head on a swivel. Vehicles seem to come out of nowhere
in a mall parking lot and you'll have to be constantly
looking left and right if you want to stay out of trouble.