Share the Road Safely and Effectively with These Tips
Posted in Car Accident on March 5, 2018
When you get behind the wheel of your car, you have two things on your mind: getting to your destination and avoiding accidents. The first goal is straightforward, especially if it’s a familiar location. But the second goal is far more complicated, as you have to contend with hundreds, if not thousands of other drivers who are traveling at high speeds just a few feet from your vehicle.
It’s important to remember that safe driving isn’t just about being able to quickly react to the movements and behaviors of other drivers and their vehicles, but also being a considerate and safe driver yourself. Law enforcement officers patrol Tennessee’s roadways to address dangers and cite careless drivers, but they can’t do the job alone. It’s up to all drivers to share the road as best they can to reduce their risks and the risks of those around them.
8 Ways to Be a Considerate Driver
Driving is all about give and take. Delays, traffic, and frustrations are part of the experience, but knowing how to deal with them can help you avoid accidents. Following these eight tips is a great way to do your part when it comes to make roads in Nashville and throughout the mid-state area safer for you and everyone else:
- Use your lights and turn signals – Being visible to other drivers and clearly communicating your intentions and next moves are among the most important things you can do when you get behind the wheel. Turning on your headlights when visibility is reduced, including during rain, snow, and fog, as well as at dawn and dusk, can help you be more easily seen, even at a distance. In addition, turn signals and brake lights can help other drivers quickly determine your next move. Check your lights on a regular basis and immediately replace any burned out bulbs to avoid dangerous situations on the road.
- Stay out of blind spots as much as possible – All vehicles have blind spots, but some have larger blind spots than others. Blind spots can include the areas just behind and adjacent to the driver and passenger sides of vehicles, especially when mirrors aren’t properly adjusted to display the largest field of view. Big trucks, vans, and industrial vehicles have similar blind spots, except they’re much larger. They also may have blind spots directly in front and behind them as well. If you’re unsure whether you’re in a driver’s blind spot, change lanes or move to a position where you can see him or her in the driver side mirror.
- Move over for stopped vehicles – Tennessee state law requires that drivers move over for all stopped vehicles with active emergency flashing lights, including civilian vehicles. In 2006, the law was first passed and involved only police cars, ambulances, fire trucks, and rescue vehicles. In 2011, the law was expanded to include utility vehicles, and in 2017, the law was again expanded to include any vehicles with active flashing lights. Moving over significantly reduces the risks that stopped drivers face, whether they’re inside or outside of their vehicles.
- Be on the lookout for bicyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians – People in cars, trucks, and SUVs may make up the bulk of people on Tennessee’s roadways, but they aren’t the only ones with a right to be there. There are plenty of bicyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians on roads and streets throughout the state, and being an attentive and considerate driver means being aware of them. When you’re stopped at crosswalks, look both ways before passing through, and always check for motorcyclists before making left turns. In addition, check for bicyclists before turning in the path of bike lanes or opening your door when parked near a road.
- Know right-of-way rules for various situations – Many accidents occur because drivers are unfamiliar with or uncertain about certain rules concerning right of way. Four-way stops are the most common situation when right of way comes into play, but it also can affect other common driving scenarios, including flashing traffic lights or traffic lights that have malfunctioned due to power outages or accidents. At four-way stops, drivers receive right of way in the order that they arrived at the intersection. Flashing yellow lights mean drivers should proceed with caution, while flashing red lights mean drivers should stop and look both ways before entering the intersection.
- Avoid violating school zone and school bus traffic laws – Children are also significant presences on Tennessee roadways, especially in the mornings and afternoons. It’s important to understand that there are different laws that apply to school zones and driving near school buses. For example, school zones often have significantly reduced speed limits, and crossing guards are always in charge of right of way and traffic patterns—not stop signs or traffic lights. Also, it’s illegal to pass stopped school buses that are boarding or dropping off students at bus stops or in school zones.
- Give yourself plenty of time to avoid speeding – Speeding is one of the most dangerous things drivers can do, and it often occurs when people are running late and are being delayed to slow-moving traffic. To avoid this potentially dangerous situation, always give yourself extra time to arrive at your destination. Not only will this make you much less likely to speed, but it will also ensure that you stay calm and defensive behind the wheel—which will significantly decrease your risks of being involved in an accident.
- Be a Good Samaritan—but avoid putting yourself in danger – If you come across a stranded motorist or an accident scene, it’s important to remember that you can make a big difference and potentially even save a life. However, you should never put yourself in harm’s way to render aid. Simply stopping your vehicle and calling 911 or an emergency help line can be the best and most helpful thing in many scenarios. Too often, Good Samaritans are seriously injured or even killed while attempting to help others due to crossing busy streets or standing near traffic.
In general, it’s best to never assume that other drivers can see you and are aware of your intentions and your next movements. Driving as defensively as possible and under the assumption that you’re invisible can help you make the best decisions in a variety of scenarios, whether it’s driving in heavy traffic, in inclement weather, or in unfamiliar situations and places.
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Even the most attentive and safe drivers can still be seriously injured in car accidents. That’s because not all drivers place an emphasis on safety—and that puts others on the road at significant risk.
At Matt Hardin Law, it’s our goal to stand up for the rights of people who were hurt through no fault of their own. We know that the medical bills and lost wages auto accident victims face can be overwhelming, and that’s why we do everything in our power to help them get maximum compensation.
Get in touch with us today to find out how we can put our 30 years of experience to work for and your family. Dial (615) 200-1111 or complete a free online form.