It can be hazardous to set out on the roadways today. Heavy traffic, dangerous driving behaviors, and other factors can turn our streets and highways into an obstacle course for motorists. The following are some of the most common driving hazards and what you can do to avoid them.
Traffic jams and congestion can lead to accidents. When you are driving in heavy traffic, keep more distance between your car and the vehicle in front. Be prepared to stop suddenly and stay alert for vehicles that may cut in front of you.
Reckless driving behavior can occur in different ways. It may involve:
- Driving distracted (texting or talking on the phone)
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Weaving in and out of traffic
- Disregarding traffic signs and signals
- Following too closely
- Driving much slower than the flow of traffic
If you encounter someone who is driving recklessly, the best thing to do is to maintain a safe distance from that vehicle. Slow down and let drivers who are speeding or driving aggressively pass you by. Maneuver around anyone who is driving too slowly and impeding the flow of traffic.
Malfunctioning Traffic Lights
We are accustomed to relying on traffic lights to tell us when to stop or go. There are rules about how to proceed when a traffic light malfunctions, but some drivers may not know the rules, or they simply disregard them and blast through the intersection without stopping. Make sure all other drivers are stopped before you proceed.
Careless Pedestrians & Bicyclists
Pedestrians and bicyclists have a right to share the road with motorists. When they act carelessly or recklessly, however, they can create hazards for themselves and for motorists. As a driver, it is your responsibility to stay alert and do all you can to avoid hitting them. A collision with a 3,000 pound motor vehicle can be fatal for a pedestrian or bicyclist.
Children Playing Or Walking
Children lack the judgment to keep themselves safe around moving motor vehicles, and many will run out into the street suddenly. If you are driving in an area where children are playing or walking, slow down, stay alert, and be prepared to stop.
Poor Weather Conditions
Rain, snow, and sleet can cause poor visibility and make the roads treacherous. If you are driving in poor weather conditions:
- Slow down to a safe speed that goes with the flow of traffic.
- Maintain more distance between your vehicle and the one in front.
- Keep your windshield and windows as clear as possible.
- Use your headlights (dim and bright) as appropriate.
Potholes & Road Debris
Some drivers tend to swerve around potholes and debris in the road, causing accidents. If you see a pothole or debris in the road ahead, keep a firm grip on the steering wheel, slow down, and change lanes if you can do so safely.
In case road hazards lead to an accident, it is important to have the auto insurance coverage you need.