Being involved in a car accident is never nice, even if it’s just a minor fender bender. And even when you think you’ve gotten away with just a little bit of cosmetic damage to your car, you never know the impact that knocks, bumps and hits can have, which could end up leaving you in need of costly repairs.

Then there’s the fact that any fender benders need to be reported to your insurance, which could raise the price of your policy in the future, even if you didn’t need to make a claim. Thankfully, safer driving can help you reduce your risk of being in a fender bender and there are several things that you can do behind the wheel to make sure that you get where you need to go in one piece.

Avoid Distracted Driving:

Distracting driving is the number one cause of accidents on the road and it could be anything that takes your attention from the road for even just a second. Using your phone while driving should always be avoided since not only is it illegal in most states, it’s also highly dangerous because you’re not concentrating fully on the road. Even changing the station on your car radio or turning up the volume of your music could distract you from the road for a couple of seconds in which anything could happen.

Avoid distracted driving by installing a hands-free kit in your car and consider upgrading to a stereo with voice-activated Bluetooth controls, so that you don’t have to take your hands off the wheel or your eyes of the road to play music or change the channel.

Stick to the Speed Limit:

Driving over the speed limit might not seem like such a massive deal if you’re only going a few miles per hour over, but those extra few miles per hour could be all the difference you need when it comes to whether or not you’re going to end up involved in an accident.

And, don’t forget that traffic cops and speeding cameras aren’t going to let you off for minor infractions, so it’s always better to just not speed at all. Make sure that you give yourself plenty of time when setting off on a journey so that you’re not tempted to put your foot down.

Be Alert and Aware:

If you’ve ever been involved in an accident on the road then you’ll know that it can often seem like a car suddenly comes out of nowhere. And sometimes, this can’t be avoided – you could be driving along safely and another driver could misjudge how much time they have to come out of a junction. But by being more alert to and aware of what is going on around you, you’ll have more time to react to sudden situations like these and be in with a better chance to slam on the brakes before it’s too late to avoid a collision.

Keep Your Car in Good Repair:

Keeping your car in good condition is not only required by law but it will also reduce your risk of being involved in fender benders and incidents on the road. The last thing that you want is to end up broken down in the middle of the road with a risk of other drivers going into the back of you because your car has given up half-way through a journey.

And, bodywork that isn’t kept in good condition also means a higher risk of parts flying off your car as you drive along the road, which could cause significant damage to other vehicles. Tire pressure is also very important; the right tire pressure provides your tires with adequate grip on the road and allows for safe braking. Check your tire pressure regularly and inflate your tires as and when needed.

Check Your Blind Spots:

When pulling out from a junction or setting off from a parking space, it can be easy to check your mirrors and go and forget about your blind spots. Check behind your head in your wing mirror blindspots; failing to check here is a number of one case of accidents involving car drivers and cyclists on the road. You should also check behind windshield pillars and any nearby road signs; you might have missed an oncoming vehicle or even pedestrians crossing the road.

Be Careful in Parking Lots:

Parking lots are the most common locations for fender benders with so many cars close together in one space. When driving in a parking lot, whether you’re looking for a space to park in or making your way to the exit, be very vigilant for other drivers reversing out of parking spaces and always check your surroundings constantly if you need to reverse into or out of a parking space yourself.

Install a Dashboard Camera:

Finally, while there are many things that you can do to reduce your risk of ending up involved in a fender bender, sometimes, there’s going to be nothing that you can do. Hit-and-runs are becoming more common on the road and there’s nothing worse than the sinking feeling you get when a driver crashes into your car, only to put their foot down on the gas and speed away.

Thankfully, while you might not always be able to prevent these incidents, you can install a dashboard camera in your car to ensure that you capture them as they unfold. According to Stephen Hasner, a car accident lawyer in Atlanta, GA, “If you are hit by a driver who flees the scene, your dashcam might capture their registration number if you’re unable to, which will make it much easier to prove fault and find the offending party when dealing with your insurance.” He continues, “Dashcam footage may also make it easier for you to win a car accident or personal injury claim.”

Some fender benders are entirely the other party’s fault and there’s nothing that you could have done to prevent it. But, keeping the above tips in mind when you drive will reduce your risk of an accident and help keep your car in better condition too.