Driving is one of the most popular forms of transportation, as it is convenient and easy for most adults to drive. While it is a popular method to travel by, it doesn’t come without risks. Unfortunately, thousands of accidents occur on the road every year, and while many are only minor, many lives are lost too. If you want to make sure you are driving safely, then you should understand some of the most common causes of accidents to ensure you avoid these mistakes yourself.

Many accidents are caused by human error, so it is important to take care while driving and avoid these common mistakes. Even the most careful drivers can be involved in accidents, so if you are a careful driver and an accident happens that is not your fault, you will likely need the help of an attorney.

According to car accident lawyer Ryan Zavodnick, “an attorney will help you get a fair settlement after a car crash that wasn’t your fault. It’s not always a good idea to try to negotiate with the at-fault party’s insurance company.”

Always protect yourself and others by driving safely, and don’t make these mistakes:

Distracted Driving

One of the most common causes of accidents is distractions while driving. These distractions can be phones, food and drink, and even other passengers. Modern cars are designed to make things like changing the music and taking calls much easier, with Bluetooth and handsfree settings. Unfortunately, so many drivers still use mobile phones when driving, even with laws against it.

Phones should be kept on silent and out of arm’s reach if you feel you will be tempted to look at it. If you must use your phone, always stop in a place safe to do so before you look at your phone. Even a quick glance at your phone can cause an accident; taking your eyes off the road, even just for a few seconds, means you can miss hazards on the road.

Eating and drinking should also be done when you are in a safe stopping area and your passengers should not distract you so much that you take your eyes off the road. Driving requires full attention, both of your hands on the wheel, and your mind focused on the task.

Reckless Driving

While most of us like to say we are careful drivers, many will admit to speeding, driving through an amber or red light, or running stop signs when they are late. All of these things are classed as reckless driving and running late for anything is no excuse! Waiting those extra few minutes and driving at the speed limit can be the difference between life and death.

Although being fully organized and prepared enough to never run late isn’t always possible, you should never regard anything as more important than your life and other people’s lives. Would you rather be late to something or dead? The risks are obvious when it comes to running a stop sign and running through a red light – it’s an easy way to get into a collision.

When it comes to speeding, many drivers insist that they are in control. Speeding slows down reaction time, you have less time to react to hazards, and your stopping time increases, making it harder to slow down and stop if you are driving too fast.

You should also consider other drivers, as other examples of reckless driving include erratically overtaking and changing lanes which can cause other drivers to brake and cause accidents. Tailgating is also part of this problem; driving too close to the car in front means that if they brake suddenly, you won’t have enough time to stop before you hit them. Having an awareness of other drivers and being considerate is also important, so don’t be careless.

Poor Weather Conditions

Driving in adverse weather conditions increases the chance of accidents as visibility is reduced and surfaces become slippery. If the weather is extreme, you should avoid driving if possible. If you need to drive, make sure you know what your car can do to deal with poor weather. You should know how to turn on the fog lights and make full use of lights in poor visibility. Your tires should have enough tread to grip to the road safely; if you live in a snowy climate, then tire chains are recommended.

Driving Under the Influence

Driving after drinking alcohol or taking drugs is illegal for a reason, so never do it. Alcohol and drugs can severely affect your reaction time, control, concentration, and ability to recognize hazards. If you know you will be drinking alcohol, use a different method of transport, or ask a sober friend to give you a lift. Don’t drink and drive – it is never worth the risk.

Driving While Tired

Drinking when you are tired or drowsy is also dangerous and it is recommended that you pull over and take a break when driving long distances over long periods of time. You need to be alert and focused when you drive; falling asleep at the wheel is upsettingly a cause of death for many drivers.

Lack of Awareness of Other Road Users

When you are driving, you need to remember that cars are not the only things on the road. Larger vehicles like trucks require you to take caution when overtaking and turning, so keep a safe distance behind vehicles or they might not see you.

Motorbikes and cyclists on the road are often involved in accidents with drivers who have failed to do the necessary checks in mirrors and blind spots – remember, you are not the only one on the road! Look carefully and check for cyclists and motorbikes, always check mirrors and blind spots, especially when turning and overtaking.

Careful driving means concentrating on the road so that you can read traffic signs, being aware of other road users, and taking in any potential hazards like potholes, brake lights ahead, stop signs, or crossings. You need to be fully focused and in full control of the car. Don’t take any risks and drive considerately, pay attention, and follow the rules – they exist to protect you and others. If we could all drive carefully and considerately, just imagine how many fewer accidents there would be – so drive safely!