If you obey the law and follow safe driving patterns, you’ll be able to avoid most potential car accidents. However, it’s impossible to bring your risk of a car accident to zero; unpredictable conditions can still take you by surprise, and there’s always the chance that some other driver can crash into you.
According to DKBLawyers, it’s possible to seek legal action and get compensation for your injuries—including compensation for medical costs, lost wages, and even your subjective pain and suffering. But it’s usually better to prevent those injuries or at least limit them, in the first place.
There are several strategies and habits that can help you do this.
First, look to the built-in safety features of your vehicle:
- Adjust your seat. Most people intuitively adjust the seat of a vehicle because it feels more comfortable, but it’s also important for safety purposes. If you’re too close to the steering wheel, the airbag might not be able to protect you properly. If your seat is leaning too far back, your seatbelt and airbag may not be able to protect you.
- Position your airbags properly. While you’re at it, make sure you adjust the steering wheel, which is where the airbag will deploy on most vehicles. Ideally, this will be aimed at a spot between your chest and head, distributing the pressure evenly across these two body parts. If the airbag hits you directly in the head, it could cause neck damage or fail to cushion you properly. If it hits you directly in the chest, it could crack a rib or result in heart problems.
- Wear a seatbelt. You’ve heard it a million times in your life, but it’s vitally important, and in most areas, it’s the law. Seatbelts are designed to safely restrain you in an accident, preventing you from flying through the windshield and preventing your body from hurting other passengers in the car. The discomfort you feel from wearing a seatbelt is minimal, and it could easily save your life.
- Drive with good posture. Though minor, it’s a good idea to try and drive with good posture. Facing forward at all times, with your hands and arms positioned at the side of the steering wheel will help you take the force of the accident as smoothly as possible.
Next, you can adjust your driving habits.
- Reduce your speed. Dropping your speed slightly is never a bad idea unless you’re holding up the flow of traffic. The faster you go, the more damage you’re likely to sustain during an accident since you’ll experience more extreme forces in the collision. Driving slower also gives you more time to react to your surroundings.
- Increase your following distance. Speaking of reaction time, increasing your following distance will also give you more time to respond. Cars in front of you can be unpredictable, so buy yourself a few extra seconds of time by giving them an extra car length or two of space.
- Brake gradually. Sometimes, you’ll be forced to slam on the brakes to avoid an obstacle or sudden change, but in most situations, it’s better to brake gradually, slowing to a stop as you approach an intersection or similar stopping point. It gives the vehicle behind you more time to react.
- Avoid inclement weather. Even if you feel confident in your ability to drive during extreme weather like snow or thunderstorms, you have to recognize that other drivers are weaker under these conditions. Avoid driving during these times altogether if you can.
- Distance yourself from bad drivers. If you see a particularly bad driver, or one that appears to be intoxicated, experiencing road rage, or otherwise unable to function properly, distance yourself from them.
After an Accident
If you are involved in an auto accident, you’ll likely face at least some damage—but there’s a chance for you to sustain further injuries if you aren’t careful. After the accident, get to safety as quickly as possible. If your car is drivable, get it to the side of the road. If it isn’t, it may be safer to stay in your vehicle, or it may be safer to exit the vehicle and get to the side of the road, depending on your position and the level of traffic around you. Turn on your warning lights, and take extra precautions as you get to a position of safety.
At that point, immediately call the police; it’s a good idea to get a police report on the accident, no matter how it occurred. The responding police officer will also be able to take control of the scene, clearing it of debris and increasing your safety (as well as the safety of the people around you).
You may not be able to prevent every accident, and you certainly can’t prevent every injury. But with these strategies, you should be able to limit the personal damage you sustain if you do end up involved in an accident.