No one wants to be in a car accident, but many people think it’s a luck-of-the-draw kind of thing. The simple truth is that driving is dangerous. While some car accidents may seem unavoidable, you can take important steps to reduce your risk of a car accident. By incorporating these safety mechanisms, you’ll not only better protect yourself but help make the roads a safer place for everyone.
Don’t Drive While Distracted
Distracted driving is dangerous driving. A government website defines distracted driving as driving while your attention is focused on something other than your most important task—driving. The categories of distraction are divided into three classifications, including manual (your hands), visual (your eyes), and cognitive (your thought processes). Texting is considered the motherlode of distractions because it combines all three distraction categories into one activity.
Texas only banned texting while driving in 2017. State law, however, does not directly address stricter hands-free specifications, although it is illegal to use a smartphone or other handheld communication device in a school zone. Furthermore, all school bus drivers and drivers who are younger than 18 must refrain from using their phones in any capacity while driving. While many Texas cities have passed additional cellphone ordinances of their own, Houston isn’t one of them.
There are many ways to drive distracted, so when you’re behind the wheel, always stay focused on your driving and the road ahead of you.
We all know that accidents happen. If another driver’s negligence caused your injury, you need a knowledgeable Houston personal injury lawyer. The legal team at Stewart J. Guss, Attorney at Law, is here to help.
Don’t Drive Buzzed
You, of course, know that driving while drunk is extremely dangerous. It’s a sobering fact, however, that many people do get behind the wheel after having a few drinks. Alcohol not only impairs your judgment but also slows your reaction times.
In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finds that Texas drivers self-report driving after drinking too much at a rate that’s higher than the national average. Furthermore, the CDC reports that nearly one out of every three traffic fatalities in the U.S. involves a drunk driver—and the rate in Texas is even higher.
If you’re going to imbibe, plan to Uber or cab home (or hit up a designated driver). Driving buzzed is too dangerous to take any chances.
Check Your Speed
Speed limits keep our roads safer for all who travel on them, and these posted limits apply to every driver on the road, including you. When you choose to shoot past the speed limit, you elect to drive at a rate for which the road wasn’t built—and you put yourself and everyone else on the road in danger. As your speed goes up, you allow yourself less time to react and your braking distance lengthens.
The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that speeding drivers killed more than 9,500 people in 2015. Furthermore, the posted speed limit only applies to safe driving conditions. In the event of bad weather, road repairs, or poor lighting, calibrate your driving speed downward to accommodate these or any other impediments to safe travel.
In the hustle and bustle of our modern lives, we’re all in a hurry, but speed kills. Allow yourself plenty of time to get where you need to be, and ensure that you arrive alive.
Park With Care
Parking lots, as they go, don’t seem all that risky. Presumably, everyone’s driving slowly, watching for pedestrians, and looking for places to park—but never underestimate the danger lurking in parking lots. Many drivers are so focused on getting prized spots that they don’t pay enough attention to what’s going on around them, and many are willing to forsake safety to land those prized spots. When you’re parking, keep your wits about you, keep your eyes wide open, and travel slowly.
By definition, parking lots contain people getting in and out of their cars and wandering around. When you mix pedestrians with cars, drivers must exercise extreme caution. In addition, in parking lots, you may not see what’s ahead of you, and kids often do what kids do best—dart in and out without paying any attention to what’s going on around them. When you’re driving through parking lots, remain alert to other vehicles, shopping carts, pedestrians, and especially children.
Avoid the risk of getting into a car accident by following the safe-driving rules of the road. Follow all posted road signs, make sure everyone in your car is buckled up (which probably doesn’t decrease your risk of being in an accident, but can keep you safer if you are), get plenty of rest and don’t drive when drowsy, and plan your travel route and driving schedule ahead of time (avoiding rush hour and high traffic whenever possible). When you make safety your priority, you reduce your odds of being in a traffic accident.
Taking to the Open Road
With the holidays quickly approaching, your life is no doubt becoming even more hectic, and traffic is heating up—which includes more big rigs on the road. Take a deep breath, review the five best practices outlined here, and proceed with caution.
If You’ve Been Injured in a Car Accident, Contact an Experienced Houston Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you have been involved in an accident, it is important to speak to a Houston personal injury lawyer as soon as you can. To schedule a free case evaluation with the attorneys of Stewart J. Guss, Attorney at Law, call today at (281) 664-6500 or send us an email through our online contact form. Remember—you pay us nothing up front when we take your case, and you pay us nothing unless and until we’ve won your recovery.