What Are Some Safety Tips to Avoid Getting Into a Car Accident on a Highway or Interstate?
Hundreds — maybe even thousands — of car accidents happen every day across the state of Florida. Some of the most dangerous ones happen on high-speed roads like I-75 or Highway 19. Many of these accidents could have been avoided if drivers had exercised the proper level of care.
When it comes to your own safety habits, keeping a few things in mind can dramatically reduce your chances of getting in a wreck. Unfortunately, despite your best efforts, you may still find yourself tangled in a collision. If you have been hurt in an accident, contacting a lawyer is an important first step after seeking medical care. Hiring an attorney allows you to investigate your accident, determine who was at fault, and seek all applicable damages.
The Tampa car accident lawyers at Darrigo & Diaz can be here for you when you need us. We’ve got over 20 years of experience serving clients in the Tampa Bay area, and our team has a record that inspires confidence. If you do need us, call (813) 774-3341 to schedule a free, no-risk consultation. However, since prevention is indeed the best medicine, it’s important to remember a few things when you get out on the interstate.
Interstate Safety Tips
Acknowledge Your Responsibility
Driving an automobile is a big responsibility and at speeds exceeding 30 miles an hour, that raises the responsibility exponentially. Everyone on the road has that same responsibility in equal measure. Unfortunately, not everyone owns their responsibility and there’s no way to tell who isn’t pulling their weight. You can’t do anything about them, but you can drive responsibly and safely. Commit to doing so each and every time you hit the highway, and don’t let your guard slip by neglecting important safety measures outlined below.
Keep Your Car Properly Maintained
Maintaining your vehicle is part of your responsibility as a driver. Make sure your tires are properly inflated (a blowout at 70 mph is rarely a calming experience). Likewise, you don’t want to get caught in a pop-up downpour when your windshield wipers need replacing. Regular checkups and proper maintenance, such as regular oil changes, not only extend the life of your vehicle but also keep easily avoidable surprises at bay.
Don’t Drive Under The Influence
This sounds like a no-brainer, especially since it’s against the law and what most highway patrol officers watch for, but you’d be amazed how many people still try. Risks encompass driving under the influence of alcohol and mind-altering drugs, but they also extend to certain over-the-counter medications. Whatever it is, these substances can impact your perceptions and your response times. Driving in high-speed situations demands a clear mind and sharp reflexes.
Don’t Drive Tired
It may feel unavoidable sometimes, but it’s extremely dangerous when tired drivers, either exhausted or sleepy, get behind the wheel. Much like driving under the influence, being tired or sleepy slows your reactions and muddles your perceptions — both big no-nos driving the speed limit on the interstate.
Follow Speed Limits and Road Signs
This is another guideline that seems obvious given the law, but some people seem to think that speed limits exist only to spoil their day. In reality, speed limits exist to keep cars moving at the safest possible speed. Furthermore, excessive speeds will reduce your reaction time. Other road signs, especially work-related signs, keep you abreast of changes in the road so you have proper time to adjust.
Remember Your Driver Training
Check your mirrors — side and rearview — regularly, especially when you change lanes or pass someone. Check your blind spots while you’re at it. Keep sufficient distance between you and other cars. Maintain speed, don’t speed up and slow down. Use your turn signals and your headlights properly.
Drive Safely and Courteously
Don’t cut off other cars, and don’t pass on the shoulder. Give yourself plenty of time so you don’t have to rush yourself. This isn’t NASCAR (even if it was, you still couldn’t pass on the inside lane), and no one’s awestruck by you weaving around traffic.
Be Aware of Road Conditions
This tip goes further than being aware of the weather, which is still an important factor. Heavy rain makes the road difficult. Dense fog reduces reaction time. Snow makes the road slick. At the same time, other road conditions like wrecks and construction can have a similar effect. Fortunately, navigation apps can now report on road conditions, including where repairs are going on, where accidents have caused traffic jams, etc. Keep your focus mainly on the road, but watch the skies, your surroundings, and important navigation alerts to be prepared for anything that lies ahead.
Don’t Drive With Distractions
Keep your hands on the wheel, your eyes on the road, and your brain trained on the duty of safe driving. Distractions can take many forms, the most pervasive of which are our smartphones. Avoid the temptation to check notifications or use your phone for anything but navigation. When using navigation, you can rely on voice commands rather than touch inputs to avoid taking your hands off the wheel. Note, too, that other distractions can equally increase your risk of a crash. Radios, loud music, eating, drinking, doing makeup, or even getting too involved in the conversation with passengers can all lead to distracted driving.
Don’t Become Overly Reliant on Automated Safety Technology
We’re in a brave new world when it comes to personal automobiles. Many vehicle features provide an added layer of safety that can reduce your risk of collisions. These include passive features, like blind-spot warnings, but also active features like emergency braking and lane assist. Some vehicles even boast “smart” cruise control or even “autopilot” settings, which can lull you into the false sense that your driving days are done. In truth, these features are still being tested and in any event cannot prevent an accident where human inputs are needed. Always remain alert on the road, and try to rely on safety features as the last resort rather than a robotic chauffeur.
Accidents will happen. That’s where we come in.
Despite all your efforts in safety and courtesy, accidents will happen. A lot of the reasons are because not everyone is following the rules or acknowledging they’re not the only ones on the highway. An accident that involves that sort of selfish driver is rarely an easy thing to mitigate.
When you find yourself being denied compensation or dealing with an insurance company that doesn’t want to pay out, that’s when you call us. Darrigo & Diaz has Tampa Bay’s safe drivers’ back. Set up a free first meeting and case review when you call (813) 774-3341 or contact us online today.