Did you know that the average American will have three to four car accidents in their lifetime? This translates to about three million people getting injured in car accidents each year and about two million of those will experience a long-term or permanent injury. You might find comfort, albeit slim, in knowing that most car accidents do not end in death, but about 90 people die in accidents each day.

The accidents can be categorized into 4 different groups. They are Errors of Recognition, Errors of Decision, Errors of Performance, Errors of Non-Performance

Errors of Recognition

This category accounts for the most accidents – about 41% of drivers. A failure to look properly or looking but not seeing what it would take for proper evasive action is the easiest way to describe this category. Internal and external distractions, lack of attention, and daydreaming are all considered recognition errors.

Errors of Decision

This category accounts for around 34% of all accidents. These are errors that involve making a conscious decision when drivers are traveling on the road. The highest-ranking error is driving too fast for the conditions on the road. Making an illegal maneuver, taking a corner too fast, misjudging distances, following too closely, and road rage are all included in this category.

Errors of Performance

This accounts for around 10% of all errors. Panicking, freezing up, overcompensating corrections such as jerking the wheel when driving off are all included within this category.

Errors of Non-Performance

This category accounts for the least amount of accidents – around 7% of all accidents. These could be things such as health-related issues, including asthma attacks, drops in blood sugar with diabetes, even heart attacks, or strokes. However, the most common issue in this category is falling asleep behind the wheel. If you should find yourself in a car accident, you can search for a reliable law firm and get a free consultation just by clicking the 'contact us' button on their site. Trusted law firms have one common goal — to reach the best possible result for each individual client. 

These issues can be anticipated and avoided, for the most part, if you follow a few safety tips.

1. Do not tailgate

Leave a proper braking distance behind the person in front of you so that you are always prepared for a sudden stop. Maintain a distance of at least three seconds behind the vehicle in front of you. If there is bad weather, leave an additional second or more in case you start to slide or skid.

2. Be aware of your blind spots

Know where the blind spots are on your vehicle. Always check them before making a turn or lane change. You should also be aware of other vehicles’ blind spots and avoid driving in them. You want to be visible to other drivers at all times.

3. Reposition your side mirrors

Many drivers are told that you should see a bit of your car in your side mirrors as you drive. This is false. The mirror should be slightly out, just so you don’t see your car and can see more of the road.

4. Keep your anger in check

People make mistakes. If someone cuts you off or does not signal properly, it is not an excuse for you to lose your temper. Yelling or gesturing at the driver will only escalate the situation and it won’t change what’s happened. If you feel that someone is driving erratically and is a danger to others, get that vehicle’s information and call 911 from a hands-free device.

5. Use your turn signals

You should always indicate by using your turn signal. This lets other drivers as well as bikers and pedestrians know that you are planning to turn or make a lane change. Once you’ve checked your blind spots and made the turn, make sure that your turn signal has turned off. You can also glance down at your dashboard to make sure your blinker is off. If you do not turn your blinker off you could mislead other drivers and deceive them into thinking you plan to turn and could cause an accident.

6. Know what to do at a four-way stop

The first vehicle to come to a complete stop has the right of way. If two vehicles arrive at the same time and are facing each other, the left-turning vehicle must give way to the oncoming vehicle. If two vehicles arrive at the same time and are perpendicular to each other, the vehicle to the right has the right-of-way.

7. Turn into your own lane

If you are driving on a multi-lane section of road and turning into another, make sure you stay in your own lane and then transition into the lane you intend to turn into ONLY. When turning right, you cannot turn into the left lane and the same rules apply when you’re turning left. This is not just a safety measure, this is the law.

8. Don’t drive slow in the passing lane

The left passing lane on a highway really is just for passing. Once you’ve moved around the vehicle you wanted to pass, move back into the right lane so that others can use the passing lane, too. Driving slowly in this lane encourages others to engage in unsafe passing and tailgating.

9. Merge with caution

Merging is a part of driving, especially on a highway. Let someone slot in as they’re entering the highway. You should always try to switch lanes to allow people entering the highway to safely merge into the far right lane, even if traffic isn’t jammed.

10. Be mindful of how much you’re braking

Don’t ride your brakes. Pay attention to the road and use your brakes only when necessary. If you’re maintaining a safe distance from the car in front of you, you’ll be able to tell when they reduced their speed and can ease off the accelerator. If your foot is constantly on the brake, drivers behind you will not be able to tell when you’re brake-riding versus when you actually have to slow down.

Bonus Driving Tips to Protect Yourself and Others

- Buckle up - No matter where you are going buckle up.

- Don’t drive under the influence

- Put away the cell phone

- Slow down

- Be alert

Don’t drive when you’re feeling tired or fatigued. Your reaction time is slower, and you run the risk of dozing off behind the wheel. Be aware of your surroundings and don’t drive if you are feeling distracted.