No one thinks a catastrophic car accident can happen to them, or to someone they love. The truth is, accidents can happen to anyone, anytime, and the best thing anyone can do is practice safe driving habits that lessen the likelihood that a catastrophic accident will happen to them or a loved one. In previous articles, we’ve discussed car insurance, distracted driving, and reckless driving at length. However, it’s important that when presenting facts about catastrophic motor vehicle accidents, we offer an in-depth look into safe driving practices first–this will be the basis for our two-part look at preventing catastrophic car accidents before they can claim a life.
No parent looks forward to the day their teenage son or daughter asks for the keys. Terror sets in, and thoughts of catastrophic injury occur. The teen years are some of the most terrifying for parents, with the number of adolescents involved in accidents rising in busy cities like Miami every year. As technology becomes more portable and easy to take on the go, the risk of distracted, unsafe driving habits increase. Reaching for that new iPhone to answer a text or looking for an AirPod lost under the seat while the car is moving isn’t unheard of these days. Keeping teens safe on the road should be a parents’ priority, should they decide it’s time to hand over the keys.
Safe driving doesn’t end with instilling these habits in teenagers. Safe driving is something every motorist should be focused on–on the road and off–as licensed drivers. Parents of teens should be focused on instilling safe driving habits in their children before they’re ever given the keys to a parents’ car, or their own set of wheels. Safe driving must start early, before distracted or reckless driving can become force of habit.
DMV.org says of preventing distracted driving:
“[…]Always be aware of the traffic ahead, behind, and next to you, and have possible escape routes in mind. Stay at least one car length behind the car in front of you in slower speeds, and maintain a larger buffer zone with faster speeds.”
There is no replacement for the experienced gained from years of safe driving, and those practices becoming ingrained in our daily lives. Teenagers don’t have the wisdom and experience that adults do, but that’s never an excuse not to learn to drive safely. Practice makes perfect, but practice must be supervised by an experienced driver.
When parents don’t feel comfortable teaching their teen to drive, Driver’s Education courses can provide much of what teens must know to get them started. A quick Google search will turn up dozens of affordable private driving lessons as well. It’s important that parents recognize whether or not their teen is ready for the road, and proceed accordingly. Some teens need more time to mature, and some can take to the road more quickly. Knowing this can even be considered the very first step to raising a safe driver!
Signs of safe driving
However, as we must fully understand safe driving before ever being on the road ourselves–whether as teens or a later-in-life driver (there are many reasons that adults choose not to drive, and instead use Uber or Lyft in busy cities such as Miami). Here, we’ve provided a list of safe driving tips that should never be overlooked:
- Wear a seatbelt. No matter how short the drive is, buckling up should be the first thing a driver should do when they enter the vehicle. Statistics show that a staggering amount of accidents happen just one block or less from the victim’s home, and that many of these accidents are fatal simply because no seatbelt was worn.
- Keep both hands on the wheel. This may seem obvious, but so many drivers take one hand off the wheel to answer the phone, look through their purse or briefcase, or open a snack wrapper. All of these things can have disastrous results, so it’s important to wait until the vehicle is parked to do anything except drive.
- Be aware of surroundings. Being observant when the on the road is another tip that may seem quite obvious, but in fact many drivers take it for granted. Turning around to quiet down the kids in the back seat, or dancing to a song that comes on the radio are two examples of how catastrophic accidents start. Missing a turn, failing to signal, or running a red light because the driver’s focus was elsewhere can result in fatal consequences.
- Don’t do anything except drive! Anything that isn’t hands-on-the-wheel and eyes-on-the-road should be avoided at all costs until the car is safely parked. Staying safe and focused is for the benefit of the driver and for everyone else on the road. Even if the driver who caused the accident isn’t injured, they must still pay the price for being liable for injuring someone else.
Next up: a legal look
Accidents do happen. Whether they’re due to a reckless driver, a motorist who chose to drink and drive, or a mom who simply turned around to quiet down the kids with no intention of causing any harm. When accidents happen, what comes next? In Part 2 of Preventing Catastrophic Car Accidents: Here’s What Drivers Must Know, we’ll explain the legal aspects of what motorists must know after they’re involved in a serious car accident. Hint: it’s not as simple as exchanging insurance information with the other driver!