Each time you get behind the wheel of your car, you face the risk of getting into a car accident. Minor accidents can lead to injuries, such as whiplash, or simply dealing with the hassle of getting your vehicle fixed. Of course, severe accidents are the scariest and the toll can go beyond having your car declared totaled. You can’t rely on other drivers to keep you safe, but you can do your part to create a safe driving experience for yourself and others with whom you share the road. Keep these tips in mind, and be sure to share them with those in your life who may be new to driving.

1. Be Aware.

This tip is often drilled into our heads, but it bears repeating. Simply put, don’t use your phone while driving. Don’t text, don’t make calls, don’t fiddle with your music or GPS system. Even looking down at your phone for a second puts you and others at risk. However, awareness extends beyond your phone as well. Use caution while eating or drinking your morning coffee behind the wheel. Teach your children that it is unsafe for you to help them in the backseat while you’re driving in the front. If any of these things need your immediate attention, it is best to pull over rather than try to deal with any of the above while operating your vehicle.

2. Take Your Time.

Avoid speeding! But also steer clear of the “fast lane” on the highway. By keeping to the center lanes, you have options in the event that you must pull over or swerve to avoid an obstruction or accident up ahead.

3. Know What’s Ahead of You.

Not just the car in front of you, but the cars to your left and right and even the cars in front of them. By keeping track of brake lights and driving patterns of the cars further ahead than you, you can better anticipate — and avoid — an accident.

4. Watch out for Blind Spots.

Use your side and rear view mirrors wisely, always making sure they are properly adjusted before starting out on your trip. However, don’t rely solely on the mirrors, especially when backing out of a spot or switching lanes. Turn your head and look before proceeding to ensure no one is in your way.

5. Stay on Top of Car Maintenance.

Get regular oil changes, check your tire pressure and make sure your windshield wipers are working and you’re topped off with wiper fluid. By making sure your car is in great shape, you lower the risk that a malfunction will cause an accident.

6. Take Care of Yourself.

Don’t drive drunk, or under the influence of drugs. Don’t drive drowsy, as you will find yourself just as impaired as if you had a few drinks. Instead, find an alert person to drive you home. Or stop to rest and recharge when on a long trip.

7. Take a Breath.

Road rage is a real problem. If you let your anger take over, you are more likely to make impulsive decisions that can lead to an accident, such as swerving too quickly around a slow driver, tailgating, or turning your head to share your feelings with another driver (and therefore taking your eyes off of the road). Remember that you share the road with new drivers, nervous drivers, elderly drivers and more.

By taking these considerations into account, you are more likely to avoid an accident. However, if you are in an accident, don’t hesitate to call our car accident attorneys at The May Firm for help. We offer free, no-obligation consultations. Call now at 1-844-MAYFIRM.