Many automobile accidents occur because people never bother to take precautions when driving. They assume the odds are with them and that they won’t get into an automobile accident. Ever met someone… let’s say over the age of fifty who’s been driving regularly for the last thirty plus years …that has never been in an automobile accident?
Very few, I’ll wager.
It’s hard to get out of this life without getting into at least one accident, but many drivers do go they’re whole lives without getting into an accident, or at least a major accident. Sometimes accidents happen and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it, but many accidents are prevented because of aware drivers, drivers who create a safety zone around their car.
What is a safety zone? It’s the room you keep between yourself and every other car on the road. Many accidents are prevented because the driver keeps enough space between their car and all of the other cars on the road. By doing this, they are able to avoid accidents.
THE THREE-SECOND-OR-MORE RULE
At Comedy Guys Defensive Driving, we constantly teach the Three Second Rule because it’s one of the most important safety tips there is.
If you are driving in the city, you should keep at least two seconds between you and the vehicle in front of you. If they pass a fixed object, you should be able to count “one thousand one…one thousand two… one thousand three ” before you pass it.
The three-second gap
This rule was created so that the driver has plenty of time to react if the driver ahead of them has to suddenly apply his or her brakes. If there is not enough room between the two cars, then you could very easily rear-end the car ahead of you. You need proper reaction time and distance to avoid such mishaps. By practicing this rule, you have a better chance of avoiding a collision. On the interstate and highway, you should increase the amount of room between you and the car ahead of you because you are driving faster now. In these situations, you should leave three to four seconds between you and the vehicle ahead of you because since you are driving faster, common sense dictates that it’s going to take you longer to stop. Many a wreck has been avoided because of this rule.
LEAVE YOURSELF AN ESCAPE ROUTE
Even if you’re the most careful driver in the world, bad things are going to happen on the road. Someone ahead of you or merging with the street you’re on will do something stupid, and cars will crash into each other. You have no control over what others do, but you do want to escape their stupidity if you can, before you become part of their collision.
This is why it’s important to look farther down the road than you might think is necessary and to place yourself in traffic in such a way that you have an escape route if you need one.
KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON AROUND YOU
Most driver’s education courses and defensive driving classes teach students to use their eyes while driving, because many drives have a tendency to just watch the car ahead of them.
You should also know where the other cars around you are located. Know what the drivers are doing in the other lanes. If you know where they are, and the car ahead of you slams on its brakes, you can move into another lane if you have to and avoid a collision. You don’t want to drive down the highway in a whole pack of cars. In heavy traffic, you obviously have no choice, but on the highway, you should leave a safety zone between you and the cars around you, because if five or ten cars are traveling down the highway, in a pack, at 70 M.P.H., and an accident occurs, there is not enough time or room to steer clear, and this will cause a domino effect. One car hits a car, and then another car hits that one, and so on, until there’s a senseless ten car pileup on the freeway that could’ve been avoided by just creating a safety zone around you. And the more cars involved, the more dangerous it’s going to be.
If you keep the proper safety zone around you, you can react to cars crashing from anywhere around you, not just the vehicle ahead of you.
CHECK FOR BLIND SPOTS
We’ve been taught since Day One that we should check our mirrors every couple of seconds,but your car’s mirrors don’t cover the whole road, no matter what the car salesman says. There is a blind spot somewhere around you, and it’s a good idea to look over your shoulder once in a while just to make sure.
If the vehicle ahead of you does something a little strange, you might need that lane quickly, so it’s smart to know if anyone’s in it in case you need it. A defensive driver should also look down the road. Look and see what’s happening ahead of you. If you see a wreck up ahead, or a herd of cattle has wondered onto the road, you want to know about it and be able to avoid it.
All of these tips are part of creating a safety zone. Remember, you CAN sometimes avoid an accident.