Car Crash

How Not to Get in a Car Crash

One of the most sobering of modern statistics is the number of car accidents recorded every year. The actual number that occur remains unknown, because many minor accidents go unrecorded; however, it’s known that a disabling car crash occurs approximately once every 14 seconds. That's four times a minute. A fatal car crash happens about once every 12 minutes, making the death toll five an hour.

Car wrecks are one of the prices we pay for technological advancement and convenience. That does not mean, however, that you and yours have to become a statistic in the actuarial tables. While you can't control for all the millions of other people you share the road with, there are certain things you can do to protect yourself and the ones you love from getting in a car crash in the first place.

First, the car...

Short of giving up cars altogether, the best thing you can do to avoid a car crash is to make sure you're driving a decent, well-maintained vehicle. The safest automobiles are those with low profiles and stable centers of gravity -- a Volvo wagon is an excellent choice, particularly if you have a family. Sturdy cars with large crumple zones also top the list. SUVs are right out. While you may think their sheer size will protect you, the fact is that SUVs are prone to rollovers, and rollovers are among the most dangerous and fatal kinds of car crashes.

There are things you can do to make any car safer. Purchase high-quality all-weather tires, and keep them inflated to the manufacturer's recommended levels. In addition, get your car tuned up and inspected on a regular basis, so that it remains mechanically sound; some car crashes are the result of mechanical failures rather than human error.

...and then you

The bare reality is that a significant number of car accidents are the result of human error -- or human stupidity. The best way you can keep from getting in a car crash is to take care of yourself and learn how to drive well, so that you can handle both your own driving and others'. Never, never, never drive when impaired in any way -- either by illness, lack of sleep, or over-indulgence. On the other end of the spectrum, try not to overreact to stimuli. It won't help you any if you swerve to avoid a chipmunk on the side of the road and plow into a semi.

It's always a good idea to learn to drive carefully and defensively, and remain vigilant whenever you're driving. Take a driver's education class if you have to; they may be boring, but they're useful. A lot of staying safe on the road is making sure you can react instantly to any of a hundred different situations, from inexperienced and/or stupid drivers to natural occurrences. Much of this comes naturally once you begin to drive defensively. Not only do you have to be cognizant of what all those other idiots out there are doing, but you also have to know how to react in bad weather or when you hit a patch of oil on the road. There's only one you, and if you can keep yourself and anyone else from being injured in a car crash, you'll that realize the day you spent in driver's ed just might have been the most valuable day of your life.

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