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If you’re like most Americans, you get in your vehicle every day, whether it’s to go to work, the store, or to visit loved ones. Each time, getting behind the wheel seems like a routine activity—almost as simple as tying your shoes. Unfortunately, the reason car crashes are commonly referred to as accidents is because to a victim, they are largely unpredictable—not because they are truly chance events. This unpredictability can originate in a number of ways such as driver error, poorly designed auto parts, and unexpected conditions in the road. It’s important to remember there is always more that can be done to avoid a car crash. 

9 Steps You Can Take to Avoid Being At-Fault for a Car Crash

Although pandemic lockdowns kept many drivers off the roads and highways, the National Safety Council estimates that 42,060 people died in vehicle crashes in 2020. This is an 8% increase over 2019—even with stay-at-home orders in place. No matter how big or small a car accident may seem, it can drastically change someone’s life. It is important to note possible causes so that you can do your best to avoid a car crash. 

1. Inspect your bulbs 

When you get behind the wheel, it is your responsibility to guarantee other vehicles can see you on the road, and that they can anticipate when you’re about to stop, back up, or turn. Check your lights on a regular basis to make sure they are working and never drive when any of your bulbs are not working properly.

2. Check your tires 

You should not wait until your vehicle starts bumping and rattling before you notice your tires are worn unevenly. Worn tires have a reduced grip on the road which makes them hazardous and may lead to a car crash. Attempt to rotate your tires and adjust alignment every time you get an oil change; this will increase fuel economy as well.

3. Pay attention to recalls 

Don’t toss that factory recall notice on top of your junk mail pile. Many of us don’t take these recalls seriously and don’t want the inconvenience of having our vehicles in the shop. However, if a manufacturer has recalled a part, it is usually because serious damage was caused to the life and property of other drivers. It is imperative that the recall is taken care of to avoid a potential tragedy.

4. Get your vehicle check if the check engine light is on

Pay attention to the check engine light when it comes on. The problem may be a quick fix like a loose gas cap or it could be a major issue causing havoc on your engine. Attempt the quick fixes on your own, if the light is still on after doing so, take your vehicle in to get serviced.

5. Follow posted speed limits and other traffic signs 

Having a heavy foot puts you at greater risk of being involved in a crash. Traveling at the speed limit makes it easier for you to brake gradually instead of slamming on the brakes. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 9,478 speed-related fatalities in 2019.

6. Use your signal lights 

Your signals are there for a reason! Your turn signals are used to communicate with other drivers and pedestrians. Use your signal in advance to allow other drivers to slow down and avoid them rear-ending you. Pedestrians look for signals to avoid getting in your path.

7. Pay attention to other drivers’ behavior 

Just because a car is approaching a stop sign, does not mean they will actually stop. Signal lights are sometimes left on after we turn, therefore, if someone has a signal light on, it does not always mean they will be turning. Don’t make assumptions about what another driver is going to do next.

8. Always check your blind spots 

Do not assume your mirror sees everything. Before changing lanes or making a turn, always check your blind spots. Take a quick peek yourself, even if your vehicle is equipped with blindspot detection. It won’t hurt you, it’ll only ever ensure your safety.

9. Stay alert and aware

One of the simplest and highly effective tips is always to know what is going on in front of you, behind you, and on both sides of your vehicle.

Driver error that may cause car accidents

Insurance companies represent their insured when their insured is at fault in a crash. Their ultimate goal is to reduce or deny the payment you are owed. Understanding the ways another driver may be at-fault for your injuries will help you make an informed decision of whether or not you need an injury lawyer to assist you in your road to recovery. As part of the investigation, your personal injury lawyer will examine what the driver was doing in the moments leading up to your crash. In addition, they will collect evidence to prove the driver was somehow distracted or behaved negligently while operating their motor vehicle.

Your injury lawyer will look for the following types of driver error: 

  • Distracted Driving. One of the top causes of car accidents from human error is distracted driving. Despite what many of us choose to believe, the brain isn’t capable of focusing on more than one task at a time. This includes driving and texting, eating, reading, grooming, or talking on the phone.
  • Not paying attention to traffic lights or signs. According to the Federal Highway Administration,  roughly one-quarter of traffic fatalities and about one-half of all traffic injuries in the United States are caused in intersections each year. It is important to be paying attention to traffic lights and signs. If not, the driver not paying attention is putting everyone on the road in danger. 
  • Aggressive and reckless driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA), aggressive driving is when “an individual commits a combination of moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property.”
  • Speeding. There is a reason for speed limits, and that is to inform you of the safest speed to travel on that particular road. It is never a good idea to speed, even if it’s because you’re late to work, or it was unintentional. The faster a vehicle is going, the greater the impact when it collides with something. 
  • Fatigue. In 2019, the NTHSA reported 697 deaths caused by crashes related to drowsy driving. It is best to stay away from the wheel if you are having a hard time keeping your eyes open.

Stay Alert: Other Common Causes of Car Crashes

In addition to driver error, there are several factors that come into play when operating a motor vehicle. Often, our injury lawyers see single-vehicle collisions where the operator of the vehicle doesn’t understand how or why the crash happened. If you are involved in a single-vehicle crash, it’s best to speak with an injury lawyer to discuss if a manufacturing defect is a cause and how they can assist with a claim to recover UM/UIM damages.

Weather conditions 

No matter what the weather conditions look like, either snow, rain, or ice, slippery roads affect traction in tires, causing vehicles to slide off the road or run the risk of hitting other objects or vehicles. Other forms of weather that may affect your driving abilities include fog, water levels, and wind speed. 

Vehicle defects 

We run the risk of driving a car to go haywire and malfunction. Although that’s out of the driver’s control, one thing that could be done is keep an eye out for recalls from the manufacturer and respond in a timely manner. The Carlson Law Firm handles a number of vehicle product liability cases and have received some of the largest auto defect settlements and verdicts in history. Vehicle defects may include the following: 

  • Airbag defects
  • Defective ignitions
  • Defective Brakes
  • Design flaws
  • Defective tires
  • Fuel system defects

This is just to name a few of the types of vehicle defect cases we’ve successfully handled. Contact a Carlson Law Firm near you to discuss your potential vehicle defect claim.

Road Conditions 

When roads arent maintained, they increase the risk of a popped tire and prevent the driver from braking adequately. 

How The Carlson Law Firm can help

Although you can do everything in your power to avoid a car crash, accidents can unfortunately still happen. We care about your well-being here at the Carlson Law Firm and don’t want to see you injured. Our firm has been protecting the rights of injured victims for about 45 years. Finally, if you have been involved in an auto collision, don’t hesitate to contact us today for a free consultation. We will be by your side, every step of the way.

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