Nevada’s Department of Public Safety recently reported that the number of traffic fatalities in Las Vegas and across Nevada continues to climb. Sadly, over 300 people die each year in car crashes in the state of Nevada. The most important prevention tips for Nevada residents, according to Zero Fatalities, are:
- Always drive sober
- Watch out for each other
- Ride safe
- Always buckle up
- Stop on red
- Focus on the road
- Check your speed
- Be fit to drive
Though many believe that the increase in car accident injuries and fatalities is linked to those visiting from out of state, the vast majority of car accident fatalities that occur in the state are, in fact, Nevada residents. Developing or improving your defensive driving skills will make you a safer driver on the roads you frequent daily. Defensive driving decreases reckless driving and makes you more aware of potentially impaired drivers on the roads. It may help you avoid becoming a victim and even save lives.
What is Defensive Driving?
Defensive driving is a valuable strategy that saves lives, time, and money in spite of the conditions around you and the actions of others. Defensive driving, whether in Nevada or across the country, can help you safely navigate the roadway to avoid dangerous hazards and negligent or reckless drivers.
Henness & Haight, committed Las Vegas car accident attorneys, provide the following seven defensive driving tips that may help you avoid a future traffic accident and keep you safer on the road.
7 Defensive Driving Tips When On the Road
Tip 1: Evaluate the Entire Situation
An important part of driving safely is being constantly aware of your surroundings in order to analyze the roadway and evaluate current situations.
You should focus on the full scope of the roadway in order to anticipate what might be occurring further down the road. To do this, you should:
- Look far down the road
- Keep your eyes moving, not fixed on a single object
- Examine the actions of the drivers ahead of you
- Frequently scan the road
- Stay present and aware of events outside of your car
Tip 2: Anticipate the Actions of Other Drivers
While driving, you should always anticipate the actions of other motorists. You should never assume that other motorists will follow traffic laws or drive in a safe manner.
Expecting other drivers to make a mistake can give you more time to react and help avoid an accident. For instance, the motorist traveling next to you may suddenly make an erratic or reckless maneuver and place you at risk of a collision. If you anticipate the possibility of a collision, you are more prepared and better able to stay out of harm’s way.
Tip 3: Stay Focused
Another useful defensive driving tip is to stay focused when you are operating a vehicle. Distracted driving claimed ten lives in Nevada in 2018, and puts pedestrians and cyclists most at risk. Distracted driving is anything that takes your attention from driving, and includes talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to others in your vehicle, and using the stereo.
Anything that takes your attention off the road for just a moment significantly increases your risk of crashing. For this reason, you should keep your attention focused on the roadway at all times while you are in control of a vehicle. Be sure to avoid any type of distraction while driving, such as:
- Using a cellphone to call or text while driving
- Changing your radio
- Programming a GPS system
- Eating and drinking
- Interacting with passengers
- Grooming yourself or applying makeup
- Reading billboards or passing signs
Tip 4: Stay Alert
Driving requires you to be alert at all times and ready to react to any possible scenario. For this reason, you should always be well-rested and have a clear mind while operating a vehicle.
You should never drive after using drugs, like marijuana or prescription drugs, or while you are impaired by alcohol. Drugs and alcohol significantly impair your judgment and physical abilities. Impaired driving is the number one cause of motor vehicle crashes, injuries and fatalities in Nevada. Driving while you are impaired greatly increases your chances of being involved in an auto accident.
Always drive sober. If you are going to be drinking, plan ahead; designate a responsible driver or use a rideshare service. If you see a drunk driver on the road, call 911.
Similarly, drowsy driving also increases the risk for accidents and is just as dangerous as drunk driving. Sleep deprivation can significantly impair your physical and mental abilities to the point that your driving patterns are similar to an intoxicated driver.
You should always sleep for a recommended seven or eight hours the night before driving. Missing just two hours doubles your chances of being in a car accident. Pull over to rest if you feel you are too tired to continue driving safely.
Tip 5: Drive with a Safe Following Distance
You should always allow yourself enough space between you and the vehicle in front of you in order to safely travel behind it.
If you are able, keep at least two or three seconds between you and the vehicle in front of you. If the road is in an unsafe condition or you are driving through dangerous weather, you should increase this distance.
The faster you are traveling, the longer the distance between vehicles should be. Remember, speed is the second largest factor of motor vehicle crashes, injuries, and fatalities in Nevada, accounting for nearly one-third of all traffic fatalities.
An easy way to determine how far behind you are from the vehicle in front of you is to find a fixed object along the road, like a tree or traffic sign, and then to count the seconds it takes between the tail of the front vehicle to pass the object and for your front bumper to reach the same object.
Do not attempt to tailgate or race. If you suspect someone is tailgating you, move over and let them pass.
Tip 6: Make Yourself Visible to Other Drivers
ou want other drivers on the road to be aware of you as well. Make an effort to make your presence known as well. Always make yourself visible and your intended actions are known by:
- Using turn signals whenever changing lanes or turning
- Using your headlights at dusk and in inclement weather
- Checking your brake lights to ensure they are in good working order
You should maintain your speed to make your actions predictable and allow other motorists to make safe decisions while driving next to you.
Tip 7: Create an Exit Plan
It is important to always have an exit plan or escape route each time you drive. This is a plan that you can use if the vehicle next to you is driving recklessly or if traffic conditions become dangerous.
our plan should anticipate all traffic scenarios and the actions of surrounding motorists so that you have an exit strategy that can be easily implemented.
You may need to scan the roadway ahead of you for any upcoming exits or breaks in traffic that will allow you to change lanes or pull over if needed.
What to Do if an Accident Does Happen
Las Vegas car accident attorneys at Henness & Haight, law enforcement, and others advise you to use these tips and always make safe decisions while driving. If you are in an accident, follow these steps:
- Call 911 to notify the police and obtain any medical attention that may be needed
- Record important facts, such as the date, time, and location of the accident
- Write down the names and addresses of all persons involved, including the drivers, owners, witnesses, and injured parties
- Record the license plate numbers of all involved vehicles
- Exchange insurance information on all involved vehicles
- If you believe you were the victim of a negligent or reckless driver, discuss the accident only with the police or your lawyer
Car Accident Injuries
Car accident injuries can be devastating and the fallout — which could include lost time at work, medical bills, and the loss of a vehicle — can be expensive. You should contact a Nevada personal injury lawyer or Las Vegas personal injury lawyer to find out whether you are entitled to additional compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain, and suffering, and other damages from your accident.
At Henness & Haight, our experienced lawyers will explore your options through our free consultation and determine if your claim is a valid legal case. Our auto accident attorneys work on a contingency and will only charge you if we help recover compensation for your claim.