Every year in the US there are over 6 million accidents resulting in over 3 million injuries.

Your Houston attorneys at Lapeze & Johns have years of experience dealing with the aftermath of car accidents that leave people severely injured. The entire event – from medical treatment to going through the legal process – can be grueling and leave victims of accidents hesitant to drive. But there is plenty that you can do to protect yourself whenever you get behind the wheel.

Defensive driving techniques can keep you and your family safe, especially as we begin to move into the spring months when rainy weather can cause the roadways to be a little more dangerous than usual.

Don’t Get Distracted

Defensive driving is as much about protecting yourself from other drivers as it is about being safe and avoiding bad driving behaviors yourself. We are all well-acquainted with the ongoing campaign against the use of cell phones while driving but there are a number of other actions that can be equally distracting.

Putting on makeup or checking your hair while you drive means taking your eyes off the road for extended periods of time, more so if you have to keep reaching for different objects and turning on and off lights. The same is true of eating while you drive, as spills and the need to wipe our hands and mouth not only occupy our vision but our hands as well.

Other seemingly (mostly) harmless activities like changing the radio, talking to a passenger, or smoking a cigarette all divert your focus away from driving. Stay safe and devote your complete attention to the task of driving.

Stay Back

We all do it – especially when we are in a rush. As we hurry to get to our next destination, many of us will drive too close to the car in front of us. While you may feel that you have a legitimate reason to rush, there is never a good enough excuse to tailgate another car. All it takes is a sudden foot on their brakes to send you into a panic to hit yours, potentially leading to a serious crash.

These type of accidents can easily happen in perfect weather conditions, but when you include rain, ice, fog, and other factors, these incidents become significantly more dangerous.

To avoid rear-ending someone – and possibly creating a line of crashes behind you – drive with the three-second rule in mind. Take a landmark and count how long it takes you to pass it after the driver in front of you. If it takes you less than three seconds, you are too close and should add a little space between the two of you. For a wet, icy, or otherwise unsafe road, add another three seconds.

Know the Weather

As a logical follow-up, it’s good to be up-to-date with any weather changes that might affect you out on the road. Driving in bad weather, as all experienced drivers know, is much different than driving on a nice day. Check your windshield wipers, mirrors, and windows before leaving for your destination. The weather will already compromise your visibility, so you can’t afford to let anything else affect it.

This can even include an overly bright sun. Keep a good pair of sunglasses in your car to help reduce harmful glare. It is also a good habit to check your antifreeze levels and the condition of your tires, to make sure they can handle whatever the road might throw at them that day.

Control Your Speed

It can’t be said enough, how important it is to keep your speed within safe limits. Making sharp turns, slamming on your brakes, or accelerating too quickly, can all cause you to lose control of your vehicle. Not only is that a bad way to drive on a clear, sunny day, as it eats up gas and places unnecessary strain on your vehicle, it gets even worse on a wet or questionable road.

Any sudden actions on an unsafe road can quickly lead to losing control of your vehicle, placing you, your passengers, and all other nearby vehicles in danger.

If nothing else, an unsafe speed causes other drivers to adjust accordingly, which multiplies hazardous conditions.

Watch Cars, Not Indicators/Signals

It happens to all of us — we see a driver suddenly break off in a new direction without turning on any signal lights or indicating that they were going to do so. It’s frustrating because it’s thoughtless and dangerous.

That doesn’t change the fact, though, that many drivers will continue to use their signals the wrong way or suddenly change their minds in the middle of a turn. While it is more work for you, you have to be aware of more than just whether the correct light is blinking on another vehicle.

Pay attention to the speed another car is moving at, whether they have accelerated or slowed down, if they are sliding toward one side of their line, and where their tires are pointed. As aggravating as it may be, be cautious and give a driver whose intentions you are not sure of time to figure out their next move before you do anything. You may mutter something under your breath but that’s better than crying out in pain.

There is a lot we can and should do to protect ourselves, our family/friends, and others out on the road. There is no excuse for being a careless driver and putting people in danger.

Lapeze & Johns understands that even defensive drivers can still be the victims of accidents caused by negligent parties. If you have been injured in a car accident, call us today.

Unfortunately, not everyone works to be a safe driver. If you’ve been in an accident, contact the Houston car accident attorneys of Lapeze & Johns at 713-352-7767 to get the recovery you need to get your life back on track. We will make sure you are rewarded for your diligence and compensated for the harm a reckless driver has caused you.

About Keith Lapeze

Keith Lapeze co-founded Lapeze & Johns with the focus of delivering dependable legal services to individuals hurt in accidents caused by negligence. After graduating third in his class from Louisiana State University Law Center, Mr. Lapeze continued his calling through commercial, environmental, and tort litigation where he is admitted to practice in both Texas and Louisiana, the United States Supreme Court, and the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Read more about Keith Lapeze here.