Sometimes, Missouri car accidents can't be avoided, but there are some important steps you can take to reduce your chances of being injured in a serious crash. In this post, our Columbia personal injury lawyers discuss a few basic tips to help you and your loved ones arrive safely at your destination.
Roadway safety in Missouri: Tips to help you travel safe
• Make sure your vehicle is in good working order. Keeping your car well-maintained and having it serviced regularly can help reduce your risk of being involved in a crash. Before you hit the road - especially if you're planning a long trip - fill up your gas tank and make sure you don't need to change your oil or rotate your tires.
• Carry a few essential supplies with you at all times. Authorities recommend carrying an emergency kit in your vehicle, just in case. You may want to include items like a flashlight, blankets, bottled water, a first-aid kit and jumper cables. Click here to read more car emergency kit suggestions from Consumer Reports.
• Check weather and traffic conditions. Certain roadway conditions - like heavy traffic, construction zones and inclement weather - can have a significant impact on roadway travel. Columbia drivers can plan ahead by finding out about road closures, local weather, construction, and traffic by visiting the City of Columbia's website.
• Wear your seat belt. Buckling up is the simplest and most effective way to protect yourself from car accident injuries. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), wearing a properly fitting seat belt reduces fatal injury risks by 45% in front seat vehicle occupants. Nationwide, seat belt use saves more than 13,000 lives every year.
• Don't get behind the wheel if you're impaired. Alcohol use and fatigue can have a dramatic effect on a driver's judgment, vision, reaction time and hand-eye coordination, making a serious accident even more likely. Don't get behind the wheel unless you're fit to drive.
• Keep your eyes on the road. It's no secret that distracted drivers are an ever-increasing threat to roadway safety. In 2011, 3,331 people were killed and 387,000 suffered injuries in crashes involving distracted drivers. While cell phones are the most notorious sources of distraction, any activity that takes your attention away from driving (eating or drinking, fiddling with the radio, reaching for a dropped object, etc.) increases your chances of having a crash.
• Use your turn signals. Always use your blinkers to signal your intentions to other motorists when you are preparing to turn or change lanes. Doing so will help prevent rear-end and side-impact collisions.