We recently posted our thoughts relating to someone who has never been in a car accident and what they might expect should they have their first accident. There are several things you can do to reduce your risk of accident in the first place.
Adjust the rear view mirrors properly. Start with the interior mirror on the windshield. Without moving your head, you should be able to glance at it and see traffic directly behind you for some distance. Also, make sure that it doesn’t block your view of the road ahead. Most cars allow for some up-and-down adjustment of the mirror. Never hang anything from your mirror, to avoid blind spots.
Put your key in the ignition. Consider where your knee will go if it’s driven forward into the dash. If it’s going straight for that thin, hard key, you might want to adjust the seat again. Also, remove any unnecessary things from your key ring.
Do you have lots of loose cargo? Use the car’s storage pockets for the little stuff. Use a seatbelt to strap that briefcase or laptop in place—if it hits the back of your seat with ballistic force in an accident, it’s going to hurt. For things like grocery bags and cardboard boxes, use a cargo net or tie downs.
Learn where your hazard flasher button is located. Make sure you can press it even if you can’t see it. In an accident, if you’re immobilized, you’ll want to make yourself visible to other cars. Turn your headlamps on when you’re driving. One of the best ways to avoid an accident is to be more visible to other drivers. Don’t rely on daytime running lights, which may not turn on your taillights, leaving you invisible from the rear.
Know your car and its limits. In a safe place, like an empty parking lot, test your brakes under panic-stop conditions, and see how your car handles as you steer it. This is especially true with that first snowfall. Knowing how your car will react to emergency conditions can save your life. The safest car in the world is useless if you don’t make your personal safety a habit in setting up and using your car.
Now would be a great time to check your car insurance policy. Make sure it covers a rental car in case of accident. Many policies don’t include this by default, but the extra cost is negligible. You don’t want to find out you’re not covered the day after your car accident.