Top tips : 10 ways to prevent accident

It’s so much easier to prevent accidents than to deal with painful consequences of a chance encounter. However, most motorists spend very little time learning how to drive more safely.

Here is a list of commonsense safety reminders:

1. Carefully look both ways - twice - before entering an intersection. It’s easy to miss an oncoming car at first glance because it’s hidden by your car’s windshield frame. A second look only takes a second and it might avoid a serious collision.

2. Don’t accelerate into an intersection the instant the light turns green. This is a good way to get rammed by someone running the red light who’s coming from the other direction.

3. Look right before pulling out. After waiting for traffic from the left to clear before you make your right-hand turn, don’t forget to look to the right again just before you proceed. Pedestrians or cars may have suddenly materialised in your path while you were waiting to turn.

4. Anticipate unexpected changes in traffic. For example, if you’re in a fast-moving lane with empty road ahead and the next lane over is backed up, be prepared for impatient motorists to dart into the lane in front of you.

5. Know your blind spots. Find out where your blind spots are when checking the road behind you in your mirrors. You might have to turn to look directly into the lanes beside you to avoid missing something left undetected by your mirrors. This is particularly important when changing lanes - don’t just rely on your mirrors.

6. Watch other drivers’ blind spots. Practice extra caution when passing large vehicles, such as semi trucks, which have less maneuverability and even larger blind spots. If you can’t see a truck’s mirrors, chances are its driver can’t see you.

7. Watch for children and pets. Pay special attention to posted speed limits around schools and in residential areas; children and pets may unexpectedly dart into the street.

8. Don’t tailgate. Leave enough space between yourself and the car ahead of you, when travelling and when stopped. On the highway, this may save you from a fender bender. Remember to leave even more room if the roads are slick. If you stop on a hill behind a car with a manual transmission, the extra room may save you from being rammed if the car slides back. Leaving yourself extra room can also help you make a quick exit if you’re approached by a carjacker in a dubious neighbourhood.

9. Keep your car operating safely. Don’t procrastinate about performing safety maintenance and repairs on your car. Check tire tread depth and pressure regularly. Have your brakes checked and wheels aligned as soon as they need it.

10. Go back to school. Go to a high-performance driving school to learn accident avoidance manoeuvres and how to control skids. Understanding how to make your car do what you want it to do in emergency situations could save your life.