Getting into an accident can be scary, painful, and devastating. You could find yourself trying to scrape up the money to buy a new car, you could be dealing with months of medical appointments, and you may find yourself frustrated at having to work with your insurance to reach a settlement.
The best thing you can do is prevent an accident from happening in the first place. There are many driving tips, like always keeping an eye on your blind spots and never speeding, but there are things you can do before you even get in the car to prevent an accident.
Don’t Drink or Do Drugs
You probably already know that you shouldn’t drink or do drugs before you get behind the wheel of a car. Drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana are obvious drugs to avoid, but did you know that other types of medications can affect your attention behind the wheel?
A few other types of drugs you should avoid taking before you hit the road include:
- Narcotic pain pills
- Sleep medications
- Cough medications
Drugs can also interact with each other to impair your ability to drive and you may not even know it. Talk with your pharmacist if you take drugs regularly to make sure you aren’t taking medications that make it dangerous for you to drive. If you are, they may be able to recommend alternatives that won’t impair you behind the wheel.
Put Your Phone on Silent
Texting and driving is dangerous, and it’s not just teens who are guilty. Putting your phone in the backseat is a good first step, but it really is better if you make sure it can’t distract you at all by turning it on silent before you even get in the car.
By putting your phone on silent, you won’t be able to hear any text messages, phone calls, or push notifications, so you won’t be tempted to lean over and check your phone. Simply turn it back on and check to see what you’ve missed when you get to your destination.
If you want to be even more safe, turn off the Bluetooth connection between your car and your phone. Answering phone calls and text messages from your car’s dash isn’t any less dangerous than doing it directly on your cell phone.
Get Plenty of Sleep
Did you know that being awake for 18 hours straight and getting behind the wheel makes you drive as if you had a blood alcohol level of .05? For most of us who are busy with work during the day and family activities in the evening, hitting that 18-hour mark isn’t difficult.
Always make sure you get plenty of sleep before you get behind the wheel. That means sleeping for at least eight hours a night, but it may also mean taking a quick cat nap before picking the kids up from soccer practice. If you’re too tired to drive, don’t be afraid to ask someone else to drive instead.
Plan to Leave Early
Speeding is something you don’t want to do behind the wheel. Although you may technically get to your destination a little earlier, it can also endanger everyone in your car as well as everyone else on the road.
Prevent yourself from being tempted to speed by leaving early. Give yourself an extra five or ten minutes before you have to be at work, an appointment, or to pick the kids up from school. It will prevent you from running red lights and putting the pedal to the medal because you’re afraid of being late.
Check Your Tires
In some cases, it could be your vehicle that is putting you in danger when you get on the road. Making timely repairs and getting oil changes is important, but checking your tires is something you can do quickly every time you’re getting ready to hit the road.
Checking your tires includes checking your tire tread to ensure you have proper traction on the road, but it also includes making sure your tires aren’t low or flat. If you live in a very cold, snowy location, checking your tires may also include putting on tire chains.
Don’t forget to pay attention to the road when you’re behind the wheel, but staying safe in the car begins well before you put on your seat belt. Reduce your chances of an accident before you get in your vehicle with the tips on this list.
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