How to avoid accidents on the road

Driving a car is an inherently risky endeavor. Each time you get behind the wheel, there’s a possibility that you get into a scuffle—minor or otherwise. We’re not saying this to scare readers but to reflect the realities of roadfaring. Accidents do happen, but most of them can be avoided with good driving skills and proper preparation. Here are some proven ways to avoid accidents on the road.

It may sound obvious, but buying a vehicle with a high safety rating and ample safety features is a must if you want to avoid road accidents. Many of today’s cars come equipped with advanced technology designed to prevent collisions.

Take the Ford Territory, for example. It uses cameras located around the vehicle’s body to enable features such as adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, and a blind spot information system. While the car’s cameras can’t substitute a pair of vigilant eyes, these features ensure you’ll have peace of mind every time you get on the road. If you happen to lose control of the vehicle or the car in front of you stops suddenly, you’d have an additional layer of protection in the form of computer safety systems.

In the absence of advanced safety features, you would do well to pick a car that is safe in itself. So, even if you do get into an accident, the way the car is designed and engineered could minimize damage to you, the vehicle, and the potential people around you. With a limited budget of say less than a million Philippine pesos, something like the Honda City or MG ZS and their five-star ASEAN NCAP ratings would do the trick.

Unlike relying on the car to keep you safe, defensive driving means taking matters into your own hands. The practice involves driving techniques that aim to consciously reduce common driving dangers. It takes into account sub-optimal driving conditions and the behavior of fellow drivers.

The general principles of defensive driving include controlling your vehicle’s speed, looking ahead and preparing for adverse events, and staying alert at all times while behind the wheel. It also involves anticipating the actions and reactions of other drivers and pedestrians. With defensive driving, you throw all your assumptions out the window and refrain from expecting other drivers to do what you would normally do in various situations.

Other reminders related to defensive driving include maintaining a safe following distance, adjusting your driving habits to reflect different road conditions, and applying the appropriate speed when entering and exiting corners. No matter how safe your vehicle is, that will never replace responsible driving habits, so practice defensive driving to help you avoid unforeseen incidents.

When driving, we’re taught to always keep our eyes on the road. To this end, anything that takes your attention off of the road can be categorized as a form of distraction. These include using your phone to send a text message or email, using your car’s infotainment system for extended periods, and even eating while driving.

Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is also a form of cognitive distraction. Needless to say, you shouldn’t get behind the wheel if you’re intoxicated. Doing so is not only dangerous to yourself but to others as well, and when resulting in an accident can even put you behind bars. Driving is a privilege not all of us enjoy, so do your best to avoid accidents by keeping away from all forms of distractions.

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