Being a safe driver means always being on the lookout for any potential dangers or threats that come your way when you’re on the road.
It’s essential to stay aware while driving, as conditions could change in a matter of seconds.
Consider these safety tips to help you reduce your risk of some of the most common types of car accidents.
1. T-bone accidents
T-bone accidents occur when one vehicle is hit on the side by the front of another vehicle. They typically happen at street intersections and are, unfortunately, very common.
The name T-bone accident refers to the T-shaped position the cars might make after a collision. It is sometimes also referred to as a broadside collision.
It’s important to recognize who has the right of way at an intersection. This knowledge can help prevent T-bone accidents.
Pause when crossing an intersection to make sure other drivers are honoring their stoplights or stop signs. Make sure you’re aware of any stop signs and stoplights and follow the right of way.
2. Rear-end accidents
When you get hit by a car behind you, you’re getting rear-ended. Rear-end accidents are fairly common and can often occur from distracted driving or not braking on time. You may be more likely to be rear-ended in traffic or if you change lanes quickly and someone doesn’t see you.
To avoid hitting someone else:
- Make sure you pump the brakes with plenty of time and distance between you and other vehicles.
- Always put your turn signal on when changing lanes.
- Avoid distracted driving. You shouldn’t be texting, eating, or driving under the influence.
Rear-end accidents happen, and sometimes it’s not your fault. However, to stay safe and avoid the risk of rear-end accidents, it can pay off to be aware of the driver behind you. You could take some defensive driving steps if they’re getting too close or you notice they’re not paying attention.
3. Accidents with animals or debris
Not all car accidents have to involve another car. Accidents involving animals or debris are rare, but they could happen. For example, you could hydroplane and hit a tree if it’s raining or snowing, which can cause you to lose control and hit a tree or other debris. You may also unexpectedly hit wildlife or an obstacle on the road.
Be aware of your surroundings and try to drive at a reasonable speed. Driving at high speeds is dangerous because you have less time to react to an obstacle or change on the road. It also takes time for your vehicle to stop or turn away if you’re speeding, which adds to the risk of an accident.
It is also helpful to have the right tires for the weather and take other precautions if the weather is bad, the road conditions are poor, or if you’re unfamiliar with the area where you’re driving.
4. Accidents while parked
You don’t need to be driving to get involved in a car accident. Your car can be hit by another car while it’s parked.
Take proactive steps to help avoid accidents while parked. Start by trying to avoid parking spots on busy streets and intersections. Congested roads can increase the likelihood of your car getting sideswiped or hit.
You should also ensure there’s enough distance between you and any other vehicles when you park. Don’t try to squeeze into a tight parking spot. If your vehicle doesn’t have some buffer space, your car could get hit when you try to exit your space or when other people try to get out.
Parking your car in a parking lot or garage could help you avoid accidents while parked. Parking lots often have painted lines and other buffer areas that make parking a bit easier and less risky.
5. Objects damaging the windshield
Don’t forget about environmental hazards when driving. For example, rocks or other debris could fall and damage your windshield or tires when driving near a mountain. Your car could also be damaged or hit if you’re driving too close to another vehicle and debris falls or is ahead on the road.
Try to drive on the outer lane if you’re near a mountain or rocky area, and most importantly, drive slow so that you give yourself enough time to react to the environment and what other drivers are doing.
6. Reverse or backup accidents
When you reverse or back up, there’s a risk of hitting another vehicle or object if you’re not careful. To help avoid these types of accidents, use your backup camera or rearview mirror for guidance. You should also remember to look over your shoulder to make sure you have enough room and watch out for any objects, people, or vehicles behind or around you.
It would be best if you also considered backing up slowly so that others can also see you.
Make sure to avoid your phone or anything else that distracts your complete attention.
The bottom line
Driving can be risky, but it doesn’t have to be dangerous. You can take steps to protect yourself and others when you’re behind the wheel to avoid a car accident. Whenever you get into your vehicle, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings, spend your full attention on the road ahead, and drive at a reasonable speed.
Having the right auto insurance can also help you stay safe when driving.
Metromile provides pay-as-you-drive auto insurance. Drivers pay a monthly base rate to help keep their car covered and then a few cents for each mile they drive. Discounts are also available for demonstrated safe driving.
You can see if Metromile’s pay-per-mile car insurance is right for you by taking a Ride Along™. Download the Metromile app and let us ride along for 17 days. After your trial, we’ll show you how many miles you drove and how much money you might save if you switched. Drivers can also earn up to an additional 40% off their initial auto insurance quote for demonstrated safe driving in select states.
Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.