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As a car accident attorney, I’m often asked how drivers can reduce their risk of winding up in an accident.

It’s a great question, because as it turns out, many of the most common causes of car accidents are things we as drivers can control ourselves. Avoid them, and our chances of getting home safely rise dramatically:

  • Distraction: It’s easy to forget just how complex an activity driving a car can be. Taking our minds off what we are doing for even a second – to answer the phone, to read a billboard, to change the radio station – can be all it takes to cause an accident. Try to stay focused on driving while you’re behind the wheel. And don’t worry – that text can wait.
  • Fatigue: Falling asleep at the wheel? Pull over and take a quick nap. Or grab a cup of coffee. Or jog quickly around the rest area’s parking lot – whatever works best for you. But whatever you do, get off the road, because the risk is real: The US National Transportation Safety Administration estimates that fatigued drivers are involved in 100,000 car accidents in the US every year.
  • Bad weather: The sudden summer rainstorms we get here in the Tampa Bay area bring with them slick roads, lower visibility and sudden stops. Bad weather changes driving conditions, and it changes driver behavior, usually for the worse – and that’s the perfect recipe for a car accident. A little extra caution goes a long way when the weather turns foul, whether it’s rain, snow, high winds or dense fog.
  • Intoxication: This one’s a no-brainer, in more ways than one. It’s well-established that even one drink measurably affects your reaction time, even if you don’t really notice it. The statistics bear this out: roughly 30 percent of all fatal car crashes involve drunk drivers. If you plan on driving, don’t drink beforehand. If you’re already drunk, don’t get behind the wheel. It’s that simple
  • Speeding: Faster isn’t always better. When you speed, not only are you reducing the amount of time you have to react to any sudden surprises, but you’re making it more likely that any injuries you sustain will be severe. Wherever you’re going, it can wait for you to arrive in one piece.
  • Aggressive behavior: Nobody’s going to deny that driving can be stressful. Or that there are plenty of inconsiderate drivers out there who probably need to learn a lesson or two in sharing the road. It’s enough to wear out your last nerve sometimes. Nevertheless, you’re an adult. Take a deep breath and remain calm. In a few minutes, you’ll have forgotten all about the repeat lane-changer who kept forcing you to slam on your brakes. But whatever you do, don’t get aggressive. Aggressive driving has a way of escalating quickly, and it can all too easily end in tragedy.

But sometimes car accidents happen anyway

When we’re on the road, we can only control what we do. We can’t control the weather, and we certainly can’t control other drivers. Some of your fellow motorists might not be as diligent as you are when it comes to trying to reduce the risk of an auto accident – and their carelessness might spill over into your lane, despite your best efforts to avoid it.

If that happens to you, give us a call at (727) 232-9957 for a free consultation. We will be happy to answer any questions you might have regarding your case. And of course, there’s never any obligation.