Most of us, if we drive, will be the victim of, or the cause of, an automobile accident at some point in our lives. Luckily, for many of us, an automobile accident is nothing more than a parking lot fender bender. However, for some, an accident could be more severe, totaling their vehicle or even changing their lives.

You’ve probably heard it before; defensive driving is the best way to drive safely. However, we wanted to highlight that defensive driving can start well before you get behind the wheel and can be more than using your turn signal. Let’s dive into the 7 best ways to avoid an auto accident.

Keep Up with Car Maintenance

We have annual car inspections in our state for a reason; they check the safety and integrity of your vehicle to ensure it’s safe for you and others while on the road. After all, car maintenance isn’t just for you, it’s to ensure those around you are safe, too.

Keep up on your car maintenance; tires, brakes, lights, and fluids, and ensure all of these systems are working properly. Car maintenance is the first step toward safe driving.

Don’t Drive While Under the Influence

Everyone knows not to drink and drive, yet it still happens. Any amount of drinking right before you plan on getting behind the wheel is a no-go. Alcohol impairs your decision-making abilities, which means it could give you the false confidence to think you can drive home. It’s a dangerous combination.

Along those lines, while you might think cannabis mellows you out, it can impair your ability to drive all the same. It’s also illegal to operate a motor vehicle while high.

Ignore Aggressive Drivers (or Call 911)

Road rage is one of the most common sources of automobile accidents. Whether road rage caused the accident, or if it was simply a close call, raging at an aggressive driver can only serve to escalate the risk of further damage to both vehicles.

Try to practice the “let it go” method of driving. If someone is being obnoxious, try your best to ignore them and carry on with your day. If you feel someone is driving too aggressively, then call 911 using your hands-free device.

Remove or Reduce Distractions While Driving

We mentioned using a hands-free device for a reason! Using your phone while driving is both illegal in most states and an actual hazard. We know—you’re only looking at your phone for a tenth of a second at most; what could go wrong? Accidents can occur in even less time than that. Don’t think a glance at your phone is harmless; it could cause an accident.

Phones aren’t the only distractions we have in our vehicles. You should also turn that music down, turn off all interior lights, and put your makeup on before or after your commute. You’d be surprised what people try to do on their way to work.

Drive the Speed Limit

This might seem obvious, but one of the most common causes of an accident is due to speeding. We have speed limits for a reason, and even if we disagree with them (they want me to do 35 on this road!?) they are put there for a reason. The speed limit isn’t a suggestion; it’s the result of a road study that tells you how fast you can safely travel in this area.

Change Lanes the Right Way

It’s tempting to throw away all the courtesies you learned back in high school when you took your road test. However, turn signals and mirrors are there for a reason. Even if you have the confidence that no vehicles are near you, you’d be surprised how many blind spots we have when we’re driving.

When changing lanes, always use your turn signal; it signals to nearby drivers that you’re changing lanes. Beyond that, take a look in your mirrors to ensure it’s safe to switch.

Always Use Caution at Intersections

Intersections are the number 1 location of auto accidents due to all of the overlapping traffic that occurs. With that said, don’t just blindly trust a green light. When it’s your turn to go, pause for a moment and look in all opposing directions. Ensure no one is about to blow through the light before you proceed.

Have you been involved in an auto accident? We’re a leading autobody and collision repair center in Western Massachusetts. Reach out to us today.