Even when we believe we’re safely operating our vehicles, car accidents can occur. In fact, there are 6 million of them every year on U.S. roads. But even though they’re common, they need to be taken seriously. If you’re involved in a serious auto accident, you could end up filing a personal injury claim and suffering from the effects of your injury for years afterwards. While you can’t anticipate every single accident, you can adopt some safe driving behaviors that will help reduce your risk of being hurt in a car accident. We’ve outlined a few of these tips below.
Adjust your headrest, seat, and mirrors
Something as simple as the height of your headrest or the adjustment of your seat, side mirrors, and rear-view mirrors can make a big difference in an accident (or avoiding one completely).
The top of your headrest should actually be level with the top of your own head. A headrest that’s too low will increase your risk of injury if you’re in a crash. Ensure that your headrest is locked in position and try to keep your head as close to it as possible at all times. This can decrease the likelihood of a neck injury. If the space between the back of your head and the headrest is more than four inches, you’ll have a higher risk of sustaining this type of injury if you’re in an accident.
You’ll also need to adjust your seat and the mirrors in your vehicle to stay safe. If you’ve made it a habit of sitting close to the steering wheel, you might want to break that habit. When you’re in an accident and are sitting too close, the airbag could hit you at full deployment speed (which is around 200 miles per hour!), causing even more extensive injuries. Aim to be around 10 inches away from the wheel.
Finally, adjust your mirrors to ensure you have the best sight lines all around your vehicle. The greater your visibility, the better you can physically and mentally prepare in the event of a crash. If you’re able to anticipate an impact, you’ll automatically reduce your risk of injury in most cases. Alternatively, you’ll be able to get out of harm’s way in time if you can clearly see what’s happening around you.
Always wear your seatbelt
This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised by how many people (especially passengers) neglect to wear their seatbelts properly. Of course, it’s against the law to forgo wearing your seatbelt. But even if the fear of legal consequences doesn’t scare you, the increased likelihood of being hurt in a car accident should. Studies have found that even backseat passengers need to be buckled up at all times, as fatality risks increase significantly when they’re unrestrained. Encourage everyone in your vehicle to remain belted at all times and ensure that younger passengers have access to seatbelt adjusters that make them safer for smaller folks.
Travel at safe speeds
Many of us tend to downplay our tendencies to speed. But your MPH can make a big impact if you’re a car accident victim. Although you can technically be injured at any speed (even five miles per hour), slower speeds come with reduced risks. Your reaction time will be more effective and you’ll be in a better position to navigate treacherous conditions. If you feel pressured to speed by other motorists, safely navigate to an alternative route or change lanes allowing them to pass.
Willfully unsafe driving behaviors aren’t the only contributing factor to personal injury cases. Sometimes, you can be hurt in a car accident due to a simple oversight when making adjustments in your vehicle. We hope these tips will help curb these risks. And if you are hurt in a car accident and need legal assistance, please contact us right away.