Although the majority of automobile accidents are caused by human error, like distracted or drowsy driving, there are some common dangerous conditions on the road that can contribute to the number of accidents that occur on a daily basis. Knowing how to handle your car in these conditions or how to avoid these dangers altogether, while remembering some common defensive driving tips at the same time, can help you be a safer driver and stay in control of your vehicle.
Common Road Dangers While Driving
If you know what type of danger to anticipate on the road when you get behind the wheel, you’re more likely to avoid an accident that could cause not only damage to your car, but a possibly devastating injury to yourself or someone else.
Some of the most common road dangers include:
Potholes, ruts or unevenly paved surfaces. A road that hasn’t been well-maintained might be uneven, causing wheels to get stuck and drivers to lose control of the vehicle. This uneven pavement can also deploy airbags if hit with enough force.
Busy or poorly designed intersections. Sometimes the timing of the lights might make it difficult to get a left turn in safely, or perhaps the roads are narrow, making it difficult to discern the lanes. Raising your awareness, and keeping your eyes moving will allow you to anticipate potential problems making it through these intersections safely.
Hidden signage. When stop signs or yield signs are hidden behind a tree, for instance, or are not well marked, drivers may be unaware when they need to stop or yield to oncoming traffic. Another part of poor intersections is hidden signage. Intersections are the most dangerous place we travel through each and every day. Forty-three percent of motor vehicle accidents occur at intersections, so again, your vision and alertness are key to making it home safely.
Bicyclists. The road needs to be shared with bicyclists, so make sure you’re watching out for those on two wheels.
Work zones. It’s often joked that Northeast Ohio has two seasons: winter and road construction season. That said, work zones are full of people going about their daily jobs, and the speed limits are often slower to account for their safety.
Poor overhead lighting at night. This can be especially dangerous on side streets or country roads, where it can be difficult to anticipate turns or see obstacles in your path. If you feel you are having trouble seeing in these situations, minimize your speed and continually change your visual control zone. This may also mean it’s time to take a look at those head lights, and see if they are aimed properly and are giving you the necessary light that is needed for your vehicle.
Defensive Driving Tips For Safer Driving
Doing your best to anticipate and be aware of these types of dangerous conditions, when combined with defensive driving skills, will help you stay as safe as possible behind the wheel. Avoid distractions when you’re driving, like phone calls, texting or eating and be aware of the other drivers around you. Know that you should check your blind spot often, but especially when you’re switching lanes – and stay in the lane you’re driving in as much as possible. And finally, no tailgating! Following too close to the driver ahead of you gives you very little time to react should they slam on their brakes or swerve to avoid any of the dangers we mentioned above.
DriveTeam offers driver training programs for those of all ages. Our Corporate Driver Training Programs will give your employees the hands-on experience they need to become safe, confident drivers ready to handle any type of dangerous road conditions. Contact us for more information.