We all have insurance for good reason. Not only is it our financial responsibility, it’s also our back-up in case something does happen. However, there are many ways we can lower our chances of having to file a car insurance claim by driving safely. Driving safely is imperative. Here at Oyer, Macoviak and Associates, we want every driver to get to and from their destinations safely. Here are several important tips for safe driving.
Unfortunately, statistics show an increase in traffic crashes. According to the most recently released Traffic Crash Facts Annual Report, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shows crashes went up 8.59 percent from 2013 to 2014. The reasons for these accidents are many. We can easily reduce these numbers by making very simple changes in our driving habits.
Obey Traffic Laws
In 2015, Florida law enforcement issued 802,675 non-criminal speeding violation citations. We all know how important it is to get to work on time, be home before the babysitter leaves, and make flights on time. However, the accidents (and citations) that speeding has the potential to cause are not worth it. Speeding limits are posted for good reason. Federal and state governments set speed limits using engineering, technology, and expert studies to determine how fast a motorized vehicle may travel safely in particular areas during prime conditions.
Following these speed limits not only reduces risk of citation, it also decreased risk of a crash and the severity of crashes. In addition to following posted speed limits, you should follow all other traffic laws.
Signal when turning. Avoid being rear-ended or sideswiped by telling other drivers when you plan to turn or merge.
Obey stop signs and light signals. Drivers who run through red lights at the last second or who roll through stop signs cause many preventable accidents. It’s okay to sacrifice a moment or two of time by simply stopping. You may save yourself the grief of an accident.
Don’t Engage in Road Rage
Over the years, road rage has gotten out of hand. It seems people are getting bolder both in violating their fellow driver and in retaliating. Often during incidents of road rage, damage to the vehicle occurs. In addition to those damages, personal injury or even fatality is possible and sometimes does happen. We cannot overstate the importance of avoiding these incidents.
Do your best to be respectful of other drivers, and forgive them when they err. We are all only human, we’re all going places, and we all want to get there safely.
If you come upon an enraged driver, safely remove yourself from the situation. Keep windows rolled up and doors locked. Do not make angry gestures or exchange words.
Adjust for Environment
Posted speed limits are contingent on road and environmental conditions. For example, if you are driving through a deluge, you should most likely drive at slower than posted speeds. Always take care to match your speed and maneuvers appropriately with what is going on around you. If a dog is running loose through the streets, you would obviously slow down to avoid hitting it. Other situations such as severely bumpy or damaged roads, construction zones, and inclement weather are cause to adjust your driving in regards to both speed and style. By doing this you will immensely reduce the risk of a damaging wreck.
Don’t Drive Distracted
Driving while talking on a cell phone, or worse, texting can affect your driving more than you may know. According to 2014 report release by the National Safety Council, 26% of all vehicle crashes are related to the use of cell phones while driving. As more recent reports are released, this number is unfortunately sure to grow.
In Florida, it is illegal to text while driving. However, it is not illegal to talk on a cell phone while driving. That doesn’t mean you should. Distracted driving is dangerous and increases your chance of being involved in an accident. If you simply cannot wait to make or take a call or text, pull over safely to do so.
Cell phones aren’t the only culprits of distraction in the vehicle. Eating, putting on makeup, fishing around for items that have slid off the seat, and reading (yes, that happens) all contribute to a distracted mindset. Operating a vehicle is a serious undertaking and deserves our full, undivided attention at all times.
If you have children in the car who may get restless, consider giving them a toy, game, or movie they can occupy themselves with. This gives you freedom to pay more attention to the road while driving.
Keep Your Vehicle Maintained
Certain vehicle conditions and disrepair can cause accidents. Under or over inflated tires, or tires that are in bad shape can result in reduced control, flats and blowouts. These can be dangerous in traffic and can damage your vehicle as well.
Make sure your lights are all in working order and that the lenses are clean.
Have any chips or cracks in windshields repaired immediately. Also, keep windshields clean. Broken or dirty glass can easily impede visibility.
Maintain your vehicle’s brake system. For obvious reasons, it’s important to get your brakes routinely checked and replaced as soon as is necessary to avoid any incidents.
The amount of drivers on the roads is ever-increasing. Inevitably, this leads to more accidents, and more car insurance claims. Reduce your likelihood of having to make those claims and increase your margin of safety by following the above tips. For more information about safe driving, or for an insurance quote, please contact us. We would love to hear from you.
Robert Macoviak is the President of Oyer, Macoviak and Associates. Oyer, Macoviak and Associates is the oldest independent insurance agency in Boynton Beach and has been in business since 1953. Oyer, Macoviak and Associates are vested members of the community who are committed to doing business face-to-face and being your insurance advocate in times of need.