Some states offer defensive driving courses that you can attend voluntarily, where instructors will teach you techniques to improve your driving skills, help you be safer on the roads, and take points off of your license. Unfortunately, Arizona is not one of those states. Instead, defensive driving courses are court mandated in some cases where a driver has committed certain driving infractions. However, you can still take advantage of some of the tips they offer in those courses and take preemptive steps to help you avoid a catastrophic car accident.
1) Keep Your Eyes On The Road & Your Mirrors – In The Doors song, “Roadhouse Blues,” Jim Morrison sings, “Keep your eyes on the road, your hands upon the wheel.” Now, “Roadhouse Blues” wasn’t a song about safe driving, but those words of advice still ring true. Keeping your eyes on the road helps you remain aware of approaching traffic, or objects, animals, or children that may dart out into the street. But what Jim doesn’t tell you is you should also regularly check your mirrors, especially if you’re planning on changing lanes. Improper lane changes are one of the top five causes of vehicular accidents. Your mirrors are a tool to help you; use them!
2) Be Aware Of The Weather – The road shouldn’t be your only concern as you drive, especially in the Arizona sun and heat. The sun’s glare can make it very difficult to see, depending on the time of the day and direction you’re driving. The heat itself can also cause issues inside and outside your vehicle. Without proper air conditioning, the heat can take a physical toll on you as a driver, potentially leading to unsafe driving. During the worst days of summer, the heat can also get intense enough to cause road tar to “bleed,” potentially creating slick spots on the road. This heat can even take a toll on your tires, wearing them down and leading to potential tire failure.
3) Keep Your Car Well-Maintained – Speaking of tires, it’s also very important to keep your car well maintained. Even if you’re driving defensively, you’re still ultimately at the mercy of your vehicle. Your reaction time might be impeccable, but if your brakes aren’t, then you could still find yourself crashing into a car that stops in front of you or striking an animal that runs across the road. Additionally, since the heat in Phoenix can also play a factor here too, you should check to make sure your car has the appropriate level of coolant in it so you don’t endanger your radiator and engine. Improper maintenance of your car can be considered negligence in a car crash lawsuit and you don’t want to find yourself in that position.
4) Don’t Drive Distracted – Distracted driving is dangerous driving. A car traveling at 55 mph is moving at 80 feet per second. That one second you’re not focused on the road could be the difference between being in an accident or being 80 feet away from it. No matter the circumstances, you should always stay off your cell phone when driving, avoid messing around with the radio, and don’t let your attention be directed to other passengers in the car. Think back to “Roadhouse Blues” again, and “keep your eyes on the road, your hands upon the wheel.”
5) Stay Well Rested – For as much talk as there is about the dangers of driving under the influence, there’s also a substantial degree of risk in driving while drowsy. While the biggest danger may be of falling asleep at the wheel, drowsy driving can also dull your reaction time, slow your decision making, and reduce your overall driving ability. By making sure you get the appropriate amount of sleep before hitting the roads, you can be a better, safer driver.
Even if you follow every defensive driving tip, you’re still at the mercy of other drivers on the roads who may not be so concerned with safety. If you find yourself in an automobile accident in Arizona, contact the Escamilla Law Group at 623-562-3838 for a free consultation. If skilled driving isn’t enough to help prevent you from being in an accident, then our skilled attorneys are here to help you fight back from it.