Defensive Driving in Texas: How to Avoid Accidents

Written by Staff Writer

Although some auto accidents may simply be out of your control, others can be avoided by taking a few common sense safety precautions. Accidents are most frequently associated with long holiday weekends and inclement weather, but there really are no limitations as to when or where they can occur.

As you set out on the Texas roads this week, keep these safety tips in mind to do your part to prevent auto accidents. These tips were put together with Texans in mind, but they apply to driving on roads and highways all across America.

Scan the Road Ahead

On long drives, far too many drivers have a tendency to zone out and blankly stare at the back of the car in front of them. However, one of the best ways to prevent accidents is to keep your eyes scanning the road ahead of you. Watch how traffic is moving — this boosts your reaction time and helps you prepare in case the car in front of you swerves or makes a sudden stop.

Stay Out of the Left Lane

Most accidents on the highway occur in the left lane, which is the fast lane. If you stick to the right or center lanes, you will have more exit routes in case a problem suddenly comes up. Driving in the left lane also makes you more visible to police officers who may be looking to catch speeders.

Keep Your Hands at 9 and 3

The 9 o'clock and the 3 o'clock hand position has shown to be the most effective in maintaining consistent control of a vehicle. Don't get lazy and let your hands rest at the bottom of the wheel on your lap. Driving with one hand at 12 o'clock isn't any better. The 9 and 3 position prepares you for quick maneuvering, which is essential in accident situations.

Know Your Car's Limits

There are obvious performance differences between say, a mini-van and a race car. What's important is that you get to know your own car well and understand its limitations. How smoothly does your vehicle round corners? How quickly can it accelerate? How long does it take to stop when you slam on the brakes? Keeping up with regular maintenance can enable your vehicle to perform to the best of its ability — increasing its longevity and helping you to avoid more costly emergency repairs.

Be Prepared After Accidents Happen

Even with the most effective preparedness techniques in mind, accidents still do happen to good drivers. At these unfortunate moments, it's important to remember the essential things that need to happen after a car accident. Texas accident lawyers who deal with auto crash cases every day suggest the following tips:

  • Assess injuries and damage
  • Exchange information
  • Contact the police
  • Take photos
  • Contact your insurance company
  • Contact an attorney if there are serious injuries
  • Document medical treatment