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Car accidents are, sadly, fairly common. They can be caused by everything from poor vehicle condition to driving too fast to inattention to inebriation. But if you’re smart and careful, you can avoid the most common car accidents. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Drive in the middle lane – Driving on the far left lane puts you in the “fast lane”, the place most Highway Patrol monitor closest because that’s where speeders tend to drive. Driving in the middle lane helps you avoid the pressure of drivers trying to push the speed limit, and gives you two directions you can go to avoid a collision.
  2. Avoid device use – While hands-free technology has made it easier to make and answer phone calls, doing anything while driving can divide your attention and increase your chances of getting into an accident. To be safe on the road, avoid the use of any devices. Listen to your music or audio book, but avoid making and receiving phone calls unless absolutely necessary.
  3. Scan around you at all times – It’s easy to settle into the groove of focusing only on what’s ahead of you, but you need to check your rear view and side mirrors regularly. That way, you can see what’s going on around you and take steps to avoid a collision coming up from the side or rear.
  4. Watch the far ahead traffic – Don’t just watch the car right in front of you, but keep an eye on the vehicles in front of them as well. That way, you’ll see if/when traffic is slowing down, and you’ll have time to react before rear-ending them.
  5. Check your blind spots — Before you change lanes, check all your mirrors AND your blind spots. Actually turn your head to look over your shoulders to see if there are any vehicles in your blind spots. It’s the best way to avoid a collision when changing lanes.
  6. Use your turn signals – Don’t be one of those terrible drivers who swerves between lanes without using turn signals. Use your blinkers to signal a turn or lane change well before you make it. It will reduce the risk of collisions significantly!
  7. Judge drivers by their vehicle’s condition – Vehicles that are dirty, damaged, or have visible damage may point to a driver who is inattentive and incautious. A vehicle that drifts in its lane could point to a driver that is drunk, texting, or talking on the phone.
  8. Keep your car in top shape — Keeping your tires, transmission, brakes, engines, and windshield wipers in good condition is the key to having more control on the road. The more control you have over your vehicle, the lower the risk of a collision!

Follow this advice, and you’ll avoid the most common car accidents no matter where you drive.