Rear-end collisions are the most common kind of automotive accident. About 40 percent of crashes in the U.S. involve someone getting rear-ended. This adds up to around 2.5 million crashes every year. That’s a whole lot of accidents. And you’ll be in for a big headache if you’re involved in one of them. Here are six tips for preventing rear-end collisions.
Give Yourself Space
The best way to not rear-end the car in front of you is to simply not drive too close. While this sounds simplistic, there wouldn’t be so many accidents if everyone was following this rule. To be safe, keep three seconds between you and the vehicle in front of you. It takes a greater distance to come to a complete stop when you’re driving at higher speeds. This is why time is actually a better indicator of safe driving space than distance between cars. To calculate this, just start counting when the car in front of you passes an easily identifiable landmark. Stop counting when your car passes that same landmark. That’s how many seconds are between your vehicles.
Don’t Just Focus on What’s Right in Front of You
It might seem unintuitive, but zeroing in on the car in front of you can actually make a rear-end collision more likely. The person ahead of you in traffic is going to react based on what’s happening in front of them. Due to this, you should also be looking ahead in traffic. Identifying the flow of traffic will give you a better idea of an appropriate driving speed than just looking at what’s going on directly before you. If you see a lot of red lights down the road, slow down before you have to slam on the brakes.
Make Sure Brake Lights Are Working
Preventing rear-end collisions isn’t all about paying attention while on the road. Maintenance also plays a key role in avoiding accidents. Make sure your brake lights aren’t burnt out. If this is the case, people won’t be able to tell when you’re coming to a stop. This can also affect your ability to go through insurance. Do an auto insurance rate comparison to see how different plans handle issues like burnt out brake lights in assessing accidents.
Don’t Succumb to Distractions
Texting is responsible for about a quarter of accidents in the U.S. You are doing yourself and everyone around you a huge disservice by using your phone while behind the wheel. It doesn’t matter if you think you’re really good at driving while texting. It’s impossible to accurately gauge how much worse you drive while you’re texting.
Watch Your Rearview Mirrors
Pay attention to what’s happening behind you when you come to a stop. If you notice that a car is approaching too fast, there are a few potential courses of action. You can try to alert the driver with your horn. It’s possible that they are distracted by something and don’t realize they’re about to rear-end you. The other option is to find an escape route. You can quickly make a legal right turn if it’s available to you. This doesn’t solve the issue of the person coming up too fast; but it at least can get you out of immediate danger.
Slow Down More Gradually
Stopping really fast can surprise drivers behind you, and make it more likely they will rear-end your vehicle. Try to slow down more gradually so you give plenty of warning before you come to a stop. This is also much better for your car than constantly slamming on the brakes.
Rear-end collisions are going to be a part of driving for as long as humans are behind the wheel. Try to lower your chances of getting in an accident by adhering to these tips.