Car accidents are an ever-present fact, sometimes resulting in severe injuries or death. You will encounter aggressive drivers in every region of the country. Avoiding car accidents can be difficult, as road safety depends on the cooperation of all drivers following traffic regulations all the time. The best way to keep yourself and others safe is to adopt some strategies for defensive driving.

Stay Focused

Arguably, the most important aspect of safe driving is to stay focused. Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of car accidents in the United States. Using a cell phone, programming a GPS, and changing the music are all common activities that cause the driver to take his or her eyes off the road. While you are driving, you need to be watching for many things – including road conditions, road markings, signs, lane positioning, and numerous other things. Behind a defensive driver includes staying attentive and focused on the road any time you are behind the wheel.

Stay Alert

Impaired driving is a serious problem in the United States. Impaired abilities, from either alcohol or exhaustion, can have a debilitating effect on your driving. In 2015, 10,265 people died in alcohol-related traffic accidents in the United States. Being alert gives you the ability to react quickly to any issues that may arise due to sudden halts in traffic or road debris ahead of you, while any degree of intoxication increases reaction time.

Do Not Depend on Other Drivers

The only driving skill you can depend on is your own. Do not assume that another driver is going to move out of your way or adhere to all the traffic laws. If you change lanes too closely in front of a driver who is texting, you could get into a serious collision. It is safer to assume that other drivers will make mistakes, as it will keep you prepared to adapt in dangerous situations.

Follow the Montana Three- to Four-Second Rule

A car tailgating another at high speeds can create an extremely dangerous situation. Even the slightest adjustment in speed could cause a rear-end collision. To avoid tailgating, follow the three- to four-second rule. Leave at least three to four seconds between you and the car in front of you. Remaining aware of the distance between you and other cars will help reduce the likelihood of you getting into an accident.

Follow the Speed Limit

Many drivers feel tempted to exceed the speed limit, especially on long, straight stretches of road. Always follow the posted speed limit unless the weather conditions make it too dangerous and you need to go slower. The better you can control your speed, the easier it will be to control your vehicle.

Buckle Up

It may seem basic, but you need to buckle your seatbelt. Many people choose not to buckle up if the drive is short or they trust the driver. However, a car accident can occur at any time. Wearing your seatbelt could save your life in a serious crash.

Stay Calm

Road rage is a genuine problem for many drivers. Impatience and frustration can lead to poor decisions behind the wheel. Stay calm whenever you are driving. If you are upset or worked up, you are significantly more likely to make a rash or reckless decision. Staying calm will help you make safe choices that do not put you or other drivers in danger.

Adapt to the Weather

No matter where you live, you will experience severe weather conditions. It is always important to adapt your driving to the weather. Slow down if the roads are icy and leave more space to brake if the roads are slippery from rain. Poor weather conditions are one of the leading causes of car crashes. Keep the weather patterns in mind any time you are behind the wheel.

If you’ve recently been involved in an accident and need advice from an experienced personal injury attorney who specializes in car accidents, call (406) 206-4831 for a free consultation with one of our Billings attorneys.