Driving Safety: Avoiding and Handling Accidents
At the Moore Law Firm, we believe that sharing safe driving practices with our clients can help save lives.
How to Handle vehicle crashes
Driving requires your full and undivided attention, especially when you never know what drivers around you will be distracted by their phones, conversations, or just about anything else.
But there are times when accidents and crashes are imminent, and it’s critical to know how to avoid them when possible and what to do so you’re always safe on the road. So, what do you do when faced with an imminent accident, and how can you keep you and your passengers safe?
Here are our expert tips on handling crashes while driving on the busy Arizona roads and highways.
Avoiding a crash
If you are sitting still at a traffic light or even a stop sign and you notice another vehicle is coming up behind you at a high rate of speed, there are a few things you should do right away:
- If you can, pull your vehicle forward and give the car behind you more room to come to a complete stop.
- If you cannot avoid a crash, brace yourself between the steering wheel and the back of your seat, and always remember to release your brake an instant before impact. This helps to lessen the result and the severity of injuries.
If you are in danger of having a head-on collision, do one of the following:
- Slow down, flash your headlights, and honk the horn repeatedly to warn the other driver.
- Move toward the shoulder and get off the road to avoid the oncoming car.
- If you can’t avoid the crash, be sure to attempt to maneuver your car in such a way as to lessen the severity of the impact.
Remember always to wear your safety belts. This is the best way to protect yourself from injury in the event of a crash.
Another effective and essential defensive driving skill is what’s called compromise. This is when you’re unable to separate risks, and you are forced to deal with two or more simultaneously. You compromise by giving the most room to the most significant or most likely danger. For instance, if you’re on a two-lane street with oncoming cars on your left and a teenager is riding a bike on your right. That child is most likely to move suddenly, so you need to provide a larger cushion to the right. So you would move closer to the centerline.
Recovering from Skids
When you’re driving on a slippery roadway or brake too sharply, it can cause your vehicle to go into a skid. When this happens, there are actions you can take:
- Do not press harder on the brake. Doing so will make the skid worse.
- Turn your wheel quickly in the direction you want to go, aka in the direction of the skid.
- As your car starts to straighten out, you want to turn the wheel quickly the other way to prevent it from skidding in the other direction.
- Continue turning the wheel as necessary until your vehicle straightens out.
Debris on the Road
Debris is common on the roads in Arizona. They become hazards, whether blown tires, rocks that fell onto the road, or even unsecured materials falling off trucks. You have to be aware of your surroundings and be prepared for the unexpected.
One of the most common debris-related crashes is when you swerve to avoid a hazard and lose control of your vehicle. Stay alert, and often depending on the type of debris, driving over it is the safest option.
The same applies to animals. There are times when you will need to stop and let them cross, especially in the case of larger livestock and deer.
What about when you’re involved in a crash?
If you have been involved in a crash, you always want to remain on the scene to assist anyone injured and exchange pertinent information with other drivers.
That information includes:
- Driver License number.
- Name and address.
- Insurance company name and policy number.
- Information on witnesses of the crash.
- License plate numbers.
If you’re injured, you want to call the police immediately after an accident.
Assisting at the Scene of a Crash
If you find that you’re one of the first people on the scene of a crash, there are some critical steps to take, including:
- Pull your vehicle off the road and turn on your hazard flashers.
- Turn off the ignition of cars involved in the crash.
- Notify emergency officials – call 911.
- Do not stand or walk-in traffic lanes.
- Ask others who have stopped to warn the approaching traffic.
You always want to remove vehicles from the road if no one is seriously injured. Any driver with a license can remove a vehicle as long as it’s safe to operate the car. And always be sure that moving a car doesn’t cause further damage or require towing to move.
If you have to move a vehicle off the roadway before law enforcement arrives, you cannot be held liable or at fault for the crash simply because it was moved.
If you are involved in a minor, non-injury crash, you need to be sure to move your vehicles off the road and out of traffic as soon as you safely can.
If you happen to get into a crash on the Arizona roads, the first thing to always do is make sure that everyone involved is safe and okay. Then, if your vehicle can be moved safely, get off the road. Once you’re off the roadway, pull over, stop the car, and call 911.
Never leave the scene of a crash.