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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Avoid common car accidents

The sound of your vehicle colliding with another is not something you want to hear. A few preventive measures may help you reduce the chances of an accident. Here are two simple things you can do:

Look as far ahead as possible so you're more likely to see potentially dangerous situations in time to avoid them.
Keep a "space cushion" around your vehicle at all times.
The "3-second rule" may help you maintain safe space: When the vehicle ahead of you passes a certain point, such as a sign, count "one-thousand-one, one-thousand-two, one-thousand-three." This takes about 3 seconds. If you pass that certain point before you finish counting, you're following too closely. In bad weather you may want to allow a 4-second (or more) cushion.

Read on for some additional safety tips:

Avoid sudden swerving. Try to look far enough ahead to be aware of potential hazards. But if you need to swerve to avoid an object, such as an animal or vehicle in your path, turn the wheel smoothly and sparingly — turning only the amount you need to get around the object in the road. Then, without hard braking, slow down as quickly as possible. If you jerk suddenly, or turn too far, you could send the vehicle out of control, into a rollover or end up in another lane or run off the road.
You get a blow-out. If you've ever experienced the sudden loss of tire pressure you know it can be a very scary experience. Typically you're left with a vehicle that is difficult to control. Your instinct may be to slam on the brakes: Don't. A rapid slow down may make it even harder to maintain control. Instead try to ease off the accelerator gradually while continuing to drive as straight as you can. Once you have slowed the vehicle, ease over to the roadside and come to a full stop.
You're sliding on wet pavement. If your vehicle starts sliding on a wet road, turn your wheel in the direction of the skid. Look where you want to go rather than at the front of your vehicle. Your hands tend to follow your eyes and this may help you get your vehicle going straight again.
Your car suddenly accelerates.
Step on the brake pedal with both feet using firm, steady pressure. Do not pump the brakes.
Shift into neutral. Use the brakes to make a controlled stop by the side of the road.
If you're unable to put the vehicle in neutral, turn off the engine. This will cut off power assist to the steering wheel and brakes, but as long as the key is in the ignition, you should still be able to steer and brake. If you have an engine start/stop button, press it firmly for three seconds to turn the engine off. Do not tap it. If you have a conventional key ignition, turn the key to the ACC position. Do not remove the key from the ignition.

Bottom line: Stay focused, look as far ahead as possible and leave a good distance between you and other cars.

Sometimes, though, accidents happen, no matter how careful you are. Give me a call today. We can review your policy so you can be sure you have the coverage you want — just in case.

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