Drive Safely

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Over 37,000 people die in auto accidents each year and result in 2.35 million injuries or disabilities each year. (For more information on car accident statistics visit www.asirt.org).

With this in mind, I have compiled a short list of suggestions that can help prevent accidents while driving. Many of these are common sense, or have been stated before, but repetition can serve as a wonderful reminder and learning tool.

1st. Stay at least 2 seconds away from the car in front of you. Staying 3 or 4 seconds away is even better, but 2 seconds is a good rule of thumb to abide by. If you are driving at 60mph, it will take around 172.03 ft to come to a stop. Staying at least 2 seconds away can allow you time to respond to sudden changes in the road ahead of you.

2nd. Get rid of distractions. It pretty much goes without saying that distractions increase the chance of a collision while driving. Today, one common distraction is of course your cell phone. Some phones, such as the Windows Phone, now offer a driving mode that will limit what notifications you receive while driving, and even offers the ability to automatically respond to texts with a "I am driving, try again later" type of message. Other distractions include fast food and other passengers in your car. In Washington, new drivers can only have 3 passengers in their car, and only after driving for 6 months. This helps to reduce the amount of distractions.

3rd. Look both ways twice at an intersection. This piece of advice was offered to me by my driving instructor when I took drivers ed. It has stuck with me since then, especially as I have heard stories where drivers failed to look both ways twice, and then were surprised when a car hit them they could have sworn was two blocks away. Interestingly, cars tend to move, and looking both ways twice makes sure that you know how fast a car is moving towards you, and lets you see how much a car has moved since you last looked that direction. If you look left, and see a car, and then look right, make sure you look left again. Who knows how far that car you saw moved while you were busy looking the other way.


Although simple, these tips have helped me to feel safer as I drive, and possibly even helped me to avoid collisions. In truth, the most important thing when driving is to use common sense and avoid situations that could turn into accidents. Getting mad at bad drivers or drivers who do not go as fast as you can also results in poor choices, and a lack of common sense. I hope that you have found this simple tips useful, or at least a good reminder if nothing else.


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