Writting by: Andre Smith
Approximately 6 million automobile accidents occur every year, and negligent drivers cause more than half of them. Negligent drivers are people who operate vehicles without considering the health and welfare of other people on the road. Examples of such people include drunken drivers, traffic violators, and people who intentionally violate traffic rules. The United States has laws in place to protect drivers who obtain injuries from negligent drivers in car accidents. However, a driver will want to prevent getting into an accident in the first place. The following contains information on ways that drivers can protect themselves from negligent drivers.
Add Extra Length to Following Distance
Various organizations advise motorists to allow two to four seconds of stopping distance in between cars. A 10-second distance is reserved for extreme conditions such as an icy road. A driver who wants to give himself or herself extra protection against negligent drivers can implement a five-second following distance in between himself and herself and the next vehicle. Increasing following distance will allow the following driver adequate time to stop his or her vehicle if an inebriated driver makes a sudden irrational move with the other car.
Drive During the Day on Holidays
Holidays are the most dangerous times for any drivers on the road. Many drivers perform irresponsible acts such as drinking and driving without designating a sober person to operate the vehicle. Such conditions are often much less likely to occur during the daytime hours. Therefore, a driver who wants to avoid an accident with a negligent driver can elect to travel during the day on holidays. The earlier the driver does the traveling, the less likely he or she is to run into a drunk person on the highway.
Report Erratic Driving
Drivers can help other drivers and passengers by reporting erratic driving as soon as it occurs. Erratic driving indicates that the driver has lost his or her sense of judgment. It could mean that person is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It can also mean that the person is distracted. Either way, the police will investigate a complaint from another driver. If they discover that the driver in question is indeed driving erratically, then they will take steps to stop the vehicle and prevent that person from operating the car any more that day. A person who reports erratic driving can save lives. Examples of such driving is swerving, speeding, stopping and starting the vehicle, and repetitive lane drifting.
Peer to the Left and Right
Just as pedestrians need to look to the left and right before crossing the road, drivers need to look to the left and right before pulling off from a traffic sign or signal. Many drivers place their faith in the lights and the signs when true safety comes from all drivers conducting themselves in a responsible fashion. A stop light can tell a driver to stop, but that does not mean that he or she will do such. Therefore, a driver my use all the resources that he or she can to evaluate the surroundings. Using peripheral vision can help, but it does not always work as well as a complete head turn works.
Honk the Horn
A loud horn and a long honk can be a lifesaver in a situation in which a driver is falling asleep at the wheel. Some drivers try to drive for too many hours without getting proper rest. Inadequate rest can lead to severe automobile accidents. A driver who notices that another driver is falling asleep can try to alert that person with a complimentary wake-up honk. It just might startle the driver enough to wake him or her.
The best way for a driver to protect himself or herself from negligent drivers is to avoid being a negligent driver (the penalties for which can be severe, you can find penalties on this traffic offences page (scroll down)). A person who does not have his or her full attention on the road might miss an opportunity to use a defensive driving technique. A driver can avoid negligence by turning off cell phones, DVD players and other distracting objects. The driver should keep intra-vehicular conversations to a minimum and avoid turning his or her head to speak to people in the rear of the car. Additionally, a driver should not operate a vehicle while he or she in under the influence of illegal drugs, alcohol or prescription drugs.
Image credit: Public Domain Pictures (Pixabay)
Andre is a marketing consultant from Brisbane, Australia. His two great passions are cars and football. He is also a blogger and has written a number of automotive articles that you can read on his Google+ page.