No one wants to get into a car accident but unfortunately, they happen every day the world over. It is estimated that an average of 1.3 million people die in car crashes globally every year, and another 20-50 million people are injured or disabled after a car crash – which is an average of about 3,200 deaths every day.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to help solve this menacing issue. Here are some steps you can take to prevent a car accident:
Know your car
First and foremost you should know the vehicle you own, about to drive or currently driving. Every car has its own limitations and you should always know what your car is capable of.
If your vehicle leans a lot when turning, turning the wheels in one direction may not be the best way to avoid an accident. Familiarise yourself with your car’s tyres and brakes and how they react; having this knowledge ahead of time is extremely helpful because you are more likely to react instinctively, quickly and correctly when certain situations arise.
Watch your speed
This can’t ever be overemphasised. Overspeeding so happens to be one of the leading causes of accidents. We would be doing a great deal of service and safety, if we all speed – less. You can read more about the dangers and consequences of overspeeding here.
Be aware of threats
When driving, you should drive defensively and always be aware of potential problems. If a car is changing lanes frequently or making a quick turn, if you see an okada too close for comfort, or if it looks like a pedestrian is about to cross into oncoming traffic, do your best to anticipate these situations!
Try to get rid of road/driving threats as safely as possible. Also, be prepared to stop suddenly to avoid a collision if and when a potential hazard arises.
Avoid blind spots
Adjusting the rear and side mirrors will help ensure an almost uniform panoramic view of the rear and sides of the car. However, you can’t just rely on them! You should also turn around and look directly at the lane next to you so you don’t miss anything that your rearview mirror might.
When driving, also consider the blind spot of other drivers, especially truck drivers. Try to stay out of other people’s blind spots or spend as little time as possible in them. There’s an unofficial rule about truck drivers’ blind spots— if you can’t see them in their often-large mirrors, there’s a good chance they can’t see you either.
Keep your hands in the right position while driving
The best driving position is with the hands at 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock. Do not drive lazily with your hands on the bottom of the steering wheel or with one hand in 12 position (top center), but always select positions 9 and 3 to maximise vehicle safety and handling…
If you find yourself driving on a road or in a situation that requires quick manoeuvres intermittently, this will be the best position to ensure your safety.
Correctly adjust the position of the driver’s seat
If your seat is close enough that you can rest your hands on the steering wheel with your arms outstretched and your back against the seat, you will have better steering control.
Please this isn’t taking a swipe at those who haven’t been blessed with height, there isn’t any shame with placing a pillow on the driver’s seat or pushing said seat extremely close to the steering wheel. Remember, safety first.
Rate the driver based on the condition of the vehicle
Yes, it is somewhat wrong to judge a book by its cover; but you can however – judge in this context. You can often make a quick assessment about a driver if their vehicle has several dings and dents, or dirty windows, that’s usually a sign of a careless driver — and you’ll probably want to avoid driving too close to them.
Keep your car well maintained
Follow the manufacturer’s recommended car maintenance schedule to ensure your car accelerates, turns and stops as it should. Change your tyres when they’re due as well, so you’ll be ready when you hit slippery roads or more challenging terrains.
Be careful at night
Some choose to travel at night to avoid traffic, but this only creates new threats and dangers. You may be too tired to see clearly; no one needs a reminder on how bad some of our roads are in Naija. You may also encounter other tired or drunk drivers or, in the worst case scenario, armed robbers and/or kidnappers. Be especially careful when driving at night!
Be courteous to other drivers
You are not the only one on the road, so be aware of others around you and respect them. If someone is moving slower than you want, that’s not a good reason to ignore the following distance rule between you. Maintain a safe following distance (at least half a car’s length) to safely cross banks when they clear.
Apply your own discretion
As with other things in life, there really isn’t any hard and fast rule to be followed to the tee. As we often say – use your head. So please, adjust and amend as necessary…
If you follow the above tips carefully and judiciously, it will help you avoid car accidents. Please drive safely.