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Top 10 Tips for Safe Driving

Safe driving is defensive driving. It can mean the difference between a no-hassle trip to work, home or play and an accident that impacts the rest of your life. In 2008, there were 1,493 traffic fatalities in the state of Georgia, reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

At The Millar Law Firm, our car accident attorneys realize that the other driver’s negligent or reckless driving often is the cause of injuries. If another driver has caused your automobile accident, we will work hard to make sure that driver is held accountable and that you and your family are fully compensated. We won’t back down from insurance companies.

We represent vehicle accident victims throughout the Atlanta metropolitan area and the state of Georgia, including Jonesboro, East Point, North Atlanta, Sandy Springs, Forest Park, College Park, Decatur, Roswell, Marietta, Peachtree City, Fayetteville and Riverdale. For a free case evaluation with our car accident lawyers, call us today at 770-400-0000 or contact us online.

To improve your defensive driving skills, we offer the following tips:

1. Go to School

car with a student driver sign on top of itYou might be an excellent, safe driver. Still, it might not hurt to update your driving knowledge and techniques by attending a defensive driving course taught by professional driving instructors. The Georgia Department of Driver Services provides a list of local courses. You can also check out the Driving School Association of the Americas, National Safety Council Defensive Driving Course or AAA Driver Improvement Program.

2. Be Alert

An attentive driver is a safe driver. When behind the wheel, pay attention to the automobile, motorcycle, bicycle and pedestrian traffic around you. Use caution at intersections. Even if there is a traffic light or stop sign, look left, right, straight ahead, and left again before proceeding and check for any crossing foot or bicycle traffic. If you’re driving on a narrow, two-lane road instead of an interstate or highway, look out for people exiting parked cars.

3. No Need for Speed

Speed limits are intended to get you where you are going safely. Always check for posted speed limits and signs on the road, such as stop signs, yield signs, highway work signs and school crossings. If you drive fast, it will take longer to apply your brakes safely or to correct yourself. You don’t want to make sudden moves at high speeds and overcorrect, because that inevitably leads to crashes. Keep in mind: There were 309 speeding-related fatalities in Georgia in 2008.

4. Stay Off The Phone

Want to talk on your cell phone or send a text message while driving? If so, consider this: Drivers using cell phones are four times more likely to get into a crash, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Don’t use any distracting electronic device while driving, including sending text messages, checking e-mail, viewing videos, searching through music files or programming satellite navigation units. This applies to cell phones, smartphones, laptops, netbooks, electronic readers, electronic tablets and GPS devices. If you need to use an electronic device, stop in a safe, well-lit parking lot.

5. Never Drink and Drive

Impaired driving breaks the law and defies common sense. More than 400 people have died in alcohol-related crashes every year in Georgia since 2004, including 416 in 2008, according to NHTSA traffic fatality statistics. The legal limit in Georgia and nearly every state is a blood alcohol concentration of .08. Consuming any amount of beer, wine or liquor can slow down your reaction time and make you a bad driver. Taking illegal substances or medications before you drive is dangerous as well. If you are impaired, call a taxi, designate a sober driver, use public transportation or call a friend or relative for a ride home. Don’t get into a DUI accident.

6. Drowsy Driving is Dangerous, Too!

Fatigue can be as impairing as alcohol. Still, many Americans engage in drowsy driving. According to a New England Journal of Medicine study, as many as 1 in 5 drivers admit to actually falling asleep behind the wheel. If you start to yawn, drift lanes or have difficulty focusing on the road, you are at risk of nodding off behind the wheel. Don’t roll down your window, turn up the radio and drink a cup of coffee. Instead, get off the road. If you’re on a long trip, it helps to stop every two hours or 100 miles.

7. Take it Slow in Fog, Rain or Snow

Although snow storms are rare in Georgia, they can create deadly driving conditions when they do occur. Roads with patches of “black ice” – frozen water that isn’t readily observable – can be dangerous as well. Roads are especially hazardous right after a rainstorm, when the water mingles with oil and dirt on the road surface. When driving conditions are bad, simply slow down and leave more time to make trips.

8. Leave Some Space

Rear-end collisions frequently occur because a car has not left enough space between it and the one ahead. You should always keep a safe distance between your car and the car, truck or motorcycle ahead of you. A good rule is to leave a four-second distance. If it is a tractor-trailer, 18-wheeler or semi-truck ahead of you, or if you are driving in inclement weather, you should leave even more space.

9. Pass with Caution

A large number of traffic accidents occur when a driver makes a lane change, right turn or left turn and is struck by a trailing car, truck or motorcycle. There are a few key steps to avoiding these accidents. First, use your turn signal. Second, check your rearview and side mirrors. Finally, examine your blind spots. If you are in the trailing car, use your horn to alert the driver.

10. Take Care of Your Car

Make sure your car is ready for the road, both inside and outside, before you drive. You should examine your lights to make sure they’re working. Check your tire pressure. Make sure your brake, power steering and transmission levels are proper. Check your windshield wiper blades and fluids. Adjust mirrors. Wipe windows. Secure any loose objects, such as phones or pets. Store them in a cargo net or glove compartment. Finally, keep all of your emergency contact information handy, as well as your registration and insurance information.

For more information, the team at the Millar Law Firm are here to help. With years of experience helping victims of car accidents get the compensation they deserve, the team of attorneys at the Millar Law Firm can help you too. Call today!

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