Car accidents happen. When they do, you may have to deal with car repairs, injuries, and possible increases in your insurance premium. Driving safely can help keep you and your family safe while also keeping your insurance premiums low. Here are seven common car accidents and tips for avoiding them:
Rear End Collision
Accidents involving a rear-end collision are a common cause of auto insurance claims. Accidents can often be avoided, whether you are the driver who hits a vehicle in front of you or the driver who is hit by a vehicle behind you. Consider the following suggestions:
Maintain your distance. Drive far enough behind the car in front of you to safely stop. This is especially true during bad weather. Maintain a three-second gap behind the vehicle in front of you, and longer if you're in a heavier vehicle. When the weather is bad, extend the timing. Read our article on driving safely in heavy rain and wind for more info.
Drive with caution. Avoid situations that may necessitate the use of your brakes unexpectedly. You could be rear-ended if a driver follows you too closely or is not paying attention.
Don't let yourself be distracted. Never take your eyes off the road to eat, text, or look for your phone. If the driver in front of you suddenly stops, it only takes a second or less of not paying attention to rear-end them.
Do not drive if you are drowsy or under the influence of alcohol or drugs. When you're sleepy or under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you're more likely to make a mistake behind the wheel.
Car Damage From Parking
Another common cause of auto damage is being hit by another car while parked. Take precautions when leaving your car in a parking lot or on the road to avoid parked car collisions and claims. Here are a few ideas:
Go the extra mile. Do not park in the busiest area of the parking lot. Instead, choose a location away from heavy traffic. You'll reduce your chances of being hit by another vehicle.
Make the most of your space. Always park in the middle of the space. If your vehicle is too close to a parking line, move it. It will help prevent others from hitting your car as they pull into or out of adjacent spots. It can help to prevent dings caused by swinging doors.
If possible, park in a garage. When you're not driving your car, keep it in a secure location.
Park streetwise. Avoid parking near busy intersections, tight turns, or driveways. Other drivers may not see your vehicle and may side-swipe it as they pass.
Accidents involving a single vehicle
Collisions with road barriers, debris, or animals, as well as rollovers and accidents while driving off-road, are examples of single-vehicle losses. It's not difficult to help prevent them.
Drive in the direction of the weather. Drive at speeds that allow you to maintain control even if you are the only vehicle on the road on a rainy, snowy, or icy day. Before the season begins, learn how to avoid hydroplaning on flooded roads and brush up on your winter driving skills.
Always pay close attention. Just because you're the only person on the road doesn't mean you can text, talk on the phone, or eat while driving. You never know when things will change.
Don't go too fast. For more than two decades, speeding has been involved in roughly one-third of all motor vehicle fatalities. Simply put, speeding is dangerous even if no one else is around.
Damage to the Windshield
Windshield chips and cracks are common auto accidents that many drivers are unaware they can help prevent. The majority of windshield damage occurs when other vehicles throw rocks and stones into the air. Keep your distance from cars and trucks to help prevent this damage.
Also, when snow plows are dropping salt or other granular substances, do not drive behind them. Some pieces are large enough to crack and chip.
Intersections are another common location for accidents. Drivers who are distracted may miss traffic signals that change from green to yellow to red. Or they fail to notice vehicles pausing before turning.
Defensive driving can help you avoid accidents. Take a moment after the light turns green to ensure that no one is approaching the intersection. Drivers who speed to get through a yellow light on a cross street should be avoided. When approaching a yellow light, be cautious rather than reckless.
Collisions While Backing out
Accidents can happen when backing out of a parking spot or your driveway.
The best way to avoid backing up accidents is to avoid having to back up in the first place. When possible, park in a way that avoids having to back up into traffic, such as by pulling through or backing into a parking space.
Another useful tip is to drive vehicles equipped with a backup camera. If your vehicle lacks one, you can have one installed.
If you don't have a backup camera in your vehicle, here are some other options:
Look around before getting into your vehicle to assess your surroundings and traffic patterns.
Return via the shortest, most direct route possible.
Reverse in a straight line, turning only when clear of parked cars or other impediments.
Back out slowly while keeping an eye on traffic around you.
Use your mirrors and brakes to get out of the spot and back into traffic.
When backing out, never do anything distracting.
While there are many things you can do to help prevent collisions, theft, injuries, or vehicle damage, the unexpected cannot always be avoided. Contact your local independent insurance agent to ensure you have adequate coverage.