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Five ways drivers can prevent car accidents

You're hit in traffic on the way home from work, and even the pain of your injuries is secondary to your outrage about the accident, itself. The reason is simple: You think the accident could easily have been avoided. You're mad that someone else was negligent or reckless and caused the crash.

You're probably right. The vast majority of accidents can be avoided, but they happen because of mistakes other drivers make.

According to Consumer Reports, there are some common sense ways crashes can be avoided including:

1. Not speeding

Speed makes an accident more likely to be deadly, but it also directly causes many crashes. Drivers may lose control of their vehicles or simply have less time to react to events around them.

2. Not driving after drinking.

One common excuse is that someone was "just buzzed." They knew better than to drive while they were black-out drunk, but didn't think buzzed driving was a big deal. However, anything over the legal limit breaks the law, and those laws are in place for a reason. Drunk drivers make mistakes, have slower reaction times, don't see traffic signals, and more.

3. Driving while distracted.

Distracted driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. When a driver is not watching the road, he or she can cross hundreds or thousands of feet without looking at the road. Even a slight curve in the street can mean the car drifts into the oncoming lane; a driver who is looking down when a light turns from green to red can blow right through it, thinking it's still green even as other cars pull into the intersection.

4. Using safety systems.

New cars have a lot of technology designed to reduce the odds of an accident. A backup camera helps you see when mirrors aren't enough. An electronic stability control system helps keep you in control of your vehicle at all times. A lane-departure warning gives you a heads-up when you don't realize you've drifted over the center line.

5. Avoiding high-crash areas.

This isn't always practical, as there are some places you must go, but it pays to know where accidents happen most. For instance, parking lots lead to a lot of accidents. There are many pedestrians. Other cars block visibility. Drivers who are searching for a spot to park are so dialed in that they don't look at anything else.

Knowing how to avoid crashes and lower the odds of a wreck is important. You can use this advice to keep from causing a wreck yourself. However, you know all too well that other drivers aren't always going to do the same thing. It's understandable that you're angry after a negligent driver causes a crash. Make sure you focus that energy into positive action and look into your legal options.


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