These days it’s not hard to spot distracted drivers – answering phone calls, replying to text messages and paying little attention to the road. Unfortunately, these are the kind of drivers who cause accidents. With more people and cars on the road than ever, the act of defensive driving has become all too important. It is up to you to do everything you can to avoid distracted driver accidents.
So what is defensive driving? The concept of defensive driving is really rooted in common sense – follow the rules of the road and assume that others might not follow the rules. Here are a few tips for you to keep in mind when you’re road:
- Don’t Follow Too Closely. That Washington State Department of Transportation suggests: “If you are driving at 30 mph or less, a following time of two to three seconds may be enough to stop safely. However, at higher speeds, the best rule to use is the four-second rule. Maintaining a following time of four seconds improves your line of sight, allows more time to avoid hazards or risks and gives an idea of path of travel problems that may arise from other vehicles, weather conditions or unforeseen emergencies or situations.”
- Be aware of the cars around you. Assume that other drivers will not act as they should. Cars can turn into your lane without signaling, some people won’t stop at stop signs and we’ve all been behind distracted drivers who end up slamming on their breaks. These are examples of issues we face every time we get behind the wheel. Defensive driving means always being aware and prepared to avoid a collision because we know others may not.
- Stay focused. Be alert every time you’re on the road. This includes not talking on your cell phone, not texting and driving, not applying make-up or shaving, not reading and driving and not eating while you are driving. We have all been guilty of one or the other of these distractions, but defensive driving means putting down the phone or your sandwich and concentrating on your driving.
- Monitor your speed. Follow the posted speed limits, but be aware of the road conditions. If roads are wet, especially after being dry for a long time, they become oily and stopping distances increase. Driving too fast for conditions means you will likely not be able to control your car in case of an emergency or if the “other guy” loses control of his/her car.
These are just a few of the things you can do to keep yourself, and others, safe on the road. For additional detailed information, we invite you to take a defensive driving course through the Washington State Department of Licensing.
If you are involved in a collision caused by someone else, please contact The Walthew Law Firm. Accidents happen, and when they do, our lawyers in Seattle and Everett personal injury attorneys will be there to help you.