Most Frequent Accidents and How to Avoid Them
Those who get behind the wheel first master the controls, then the car behavior on the road, and finally learn the language of communication with other road users. Experienced instructors will also name a fourth level, developed through driving experience and as a result of situation analysis. This level can be called foresight, and it dramatically increases the safety of both the driver and those around him. It is impossible to predict all situations on the road, just as it is hard to protect yourself from an inadequate person. But there are a lot of standard scenarios when even drivers of the safest vehicles with numerous electronic assistants make mistakes. The car experts and experienced motorists from Indy Auto Man explain how to avoid typical accidents.
Never interrupt oncoming traffic
This is a common mistake that many drivers make. They miss the red traffic light, notice the car ahead late, and turn the steering wheel to the left. A second later, instead of the usual passing collision, they get a head-on one with monstrous consequences and a salvage title for their vehicle. In the best case, the collision will occur at twice the speed, and there is no chance that the oncoming driver will suddenly have time to stop. Such accidents occur at intersections and during unsuccessful overtaking. The result is always the same—the gloomy statistics of the most serious incidents. The drivers need to firmly understand and accustom themselves that in no situation should they ever try to avoid being hit at the cost of driving into the oncoming lane. It is better to turn over three times in a ditch than even tangentially, at an angle, to catch tons of metal moving toward you. It is worth practicing reacting to an imaginary obstacle by stomping on the brake as quickly as possible and, as a last resort, moving slightly to the right, towards the side of the road. By the way, it often turns out that the braking distance is long not because of faulty brakes or poor clutch but because of incomplete pressure. In an emergency, the driver must hit the pedal with all brutal force. This is what the brakes are designed to do. On dry asphalt, smoke should come out from under the wheels in this case.
Careful actions with the steering wheel
Very frequently, the cause of an accident is the loss of control. And all because having turned the steering wheel and not feeling the car’s response, the person turns the steering wheel further. At the same time, the wheels have long lost grip, also due to braking. They are locked in the turned state and skid. And then, the driver releases the brake for a moment. The car is thrown in the opposite direction, a jerk of the steering wheel again, and a pendulum effect – the side of the road or the oncoming traffic.
It’s not difficult to learn to feel the edge of the wheels’ grip on the road; one should try once to send the car into a skid in a safe place. This could be a paved area or even a small lawn. The main thing is that there are no other cars nearby, and the surface is as flat as possible. The rules oblige us to only brake in an emergency. Do not turn the steering wheel or try to go around. There are cases when an experienced driver avoided being hit by maneuvering. But here, one needs calculation, precise actions, and experience. In any situation, the driver must operate the steering wheel subtly and smoothly, constantly analyzing whether there is a response. If, on a slippery road, a slight turn of the steering wheel does not change the trajectory, then the car is already drifting or skidding! The recommendations are as follows: brake carefully and do not turn the steering wheel sharply. And don’t move your hands on the steering wheel. As long as you keep your hands in the same position, you can always put the wheels straight. Hold the steering wheel with both hands.
Instructors hardly teach this, although the language of communication between drivers is the key to mutual understanding. Use your turn signals in advance, not when you have already started changing lanes. If you are going to give way in a situation where the rules do not prescribe it, you must make sure that other traffic participants understand your maneuver. Otherwise, instead of a good deed, you will provoke an accident, for example, when you let someone change lanes. The situation is even more difficult when a pedestrian gets caught in the situation, filtering through the flow outside the crossing. One driver gave way, but the other did not see it.
The list of typical emergencies is long. It includes non-compliance with distance and non-functioning brake lights. Today, you can drive safely only by analyzing the road situation and relying more on yourself than on others. And constantly gaining experience is the key to safety.