There’s always the risk of being in a traffic accident any time you leave the house in your car, but you can greatly decrease that risk by practicing defensive driving. Here are seven top tips and one important reminder to improve driving safety and reduce the likelihood of having to file an insurance claim.
Observe the Speed Limit
One of the biggest contributors to motor vehicle crashes is speeding. Pay attention to speed limits, especially around schools, residential neighborhoods, and busy pedestrian areas. Even if you don’t get in an accident, too many speeding tickets can result in a steep increase in your car insurance premium.
Never Drive Under the Influence
Another major cause of automobile accidents, including those with fatalities, is driving under the influence. This includes not only alcohol but recreational and prescription drugs. Even over-the-counter drugs, like antihistamines and cold medications, can leave you too sedated to drive safely.
Don’t Drive Distracted
Never text or talk with your mobile phone in your hand while driving. Don’t allow other distractions, like pets, kids, eating, or loud music to interfere with your attention either.
Plan for Poor Weather Conditions
We get a lot of bad weather here in Washington, so you need to adjust for that when you’re behind the wheel. Allow extra time to get to your destination, and slow down to take into account slippery roads and poor visibility (use your headlights, even during the day). Always be vigilant for other drivers who aren’t so careful in the rain and fog.
Use Your Directional Signals
Somehow, it became “uncool” to use turn signals in a car, truck, or van. But using your directionals properly can prevent accidents and save lives. Always utilize a signal when turning or exiting the highway. Put on your flashing hazard lights when stopped in high-traffic areas or when going slower than the flow of traffic, such as if you develop sudden engine trouble.
Maintain a Safe Following Distance
Keep at least a couple of car lengths between you and the car in front of you to avoid rear-end accidents. The faster you’re traveling, the more distance you want to create in case the other vehicle stops or swerves suddenly.
Watch Out for Problematic Areas
There are some spots that tend to put you at higher risk for car accidents. Keep a keen eye out at:
- Four-way stop signs
- Left turns across high-speed traffic
- No U-turn areas (people still make U-turns)
- Parking spaces where you have to back out
- Parking lots with unclear traffic flow patterns
- Steep hills
- Highways and interstates
Defensive driving means always assuming another vehicle will not be operating safely. You, therefore, need to be extra careful and create a buffer between you and other motorists when possible.
Always Carry Proof of Auto Insurance
In case you are stopped by law enforcement or are in an accident, you must carry proof of auto insurance with you in the form of a physical card or digital card on your mobile device. This is also handy if you need to file a claim right away or call for roadside assistance.
To check your auto insurance options, call Spangler Insurance at 206-329-7447 today. You can also reach out via our contact form with your questions or start a policy online at any time.