If you are reading this post, you understand how devastating a Raleigh Car Accident can be for victims. After representing numerous car accident victims in Raleigh, we wanted to share some tips to help drivers avoid being in a car accident.
The Bishop Law Firm represents car accident injury victims in Raleigh and surrounding areas. We do not get paid unless you win and we offer free case reviews. Call us today, 919-615-3095 or start your free case review now.
Twenty Tips to Avoid Raleigh Car Accidents
While not all Raleigh Car Accidents are avoidable, many are. We understand that you may do everything perfectly and still end up in a car accident due to the negligence of another.
That being said, your safety and the safety of your loved ones is priceless. While we cannot say that these tips will definitely prevent a car accident, we hope that they will help you. If we can help one person avoid an accident, it's worth it!
1. Avoid Dangerous Roads and Driving Times in Raleigh
As we have written before, some roads in Raleigh are more dangerous than others. Also traveling at certain times of day can also increase your chances of being injured in a car accident. See: Raleigh Car Accident Statistics and Raleigh Car Accident Injuries.
As an example, the majority of I-440 (Raleigh Beltline) was completed in 1984 per Wikipedia. Between 1980-1990, the population of Raleigh was between 301,327 - 423,380 people.
According to Macrotrends, the current population of Raleigh is 1,591,000 people. The population at the time our roads were completed was much less than what it is today, which means more traffic and roads that are not equipped to deal with that traffic.
Also read: Raleigh Car Accident Reports
2. Watch the news or use a Traffic App
Watching the news before leaving home can help you avoid congestion, construction and areas where there are already accidents. Studies have shown that there is a relationship between accident rate and traffic volume. Many television stations in Raleigh have pages dedicated just to current traffic and accidents. WRAL and ABC11 are two examples.
3. Leave home earlier or later if possible
Rushing due to running late is a recipe for disaster, but it happens to all of us.
In a survey of 1,000 Americans by Netquote: "virtually everyone surveyed was willing to go a little faster when they realized they were running behind. A minority (less than 15 percent) kept that excess speed to a maximum of 5 mph over the limit."
Drivers who took the survey also admitted to pushing through yellow lights instead of slowing down and cutting off other drivers when trying to get somewhere fast.
Plan ahead and leave home early if you can. If your employer offers a flexible schedule, you can avoid traffic by reporting to work at a later time. Also, scheduling appointments later in the day can help you avoid traffic and thus accidents.
4. Use your GPS
GPS can help avoid accidents in many ways. Following GPS directions can reduce distractions, stress, sudden stops and abrupt in-lane U-turns when you do not know the area you are traveling to.
Also, GPS can inform you about traffic congestion and accidents and help you take an alternate route (saving you time and frustration). The only caveat: don't fiddle with your GPS while driving and become a distracted driver!
5. Watch out for distracted drivers and avoid being a distracted driver
According to the North Carolina Department of Insurance, in 2020, 44,128 crashes, 18,552 injuries and 157 deaths were due to distracted driving.
In addition to not being distracted while we drive, we must look out for others on the road who are distracted to avoid being in a car accident.
Erratic movements/inability to stay in one lane, holding a phone, rowdy interaction with passengers, speeding or driving too slow, eating, running a red light, slowed response time, tailgating, sudden braking and failing to use a turn signal are all warning signs that you are dealing with a distracted driver (EverCare).
If you notice these behaviors in a fellow driver, if it is safe, get away from them. Don't try to engage them.
6. Drive for yourself and everyone around you
Unfortunately, as car accident injury lawyers, we have heard many accident stories that start with "I thought he/she saw me" or "I thought that that they were going to stop" or "I had the right of way."
While these statements are 100% accurate and it would seem you could rationally rely on these facts to avoid car accidents, it is simply not the case.
Being right will not stop you from being involved in a car accident or sustaining life altering injuries in a car accident.
We will never know if defensive driving prevents accidents as prevented accidents are not reported.
However, in Wake County, drivers who take a Defensive Driving Course, can receive insurance discounts and potential reductions on a traffic violation.
The best (and only) way to know if defensive driving works to prevent accidents is to drive defensively. In addition to any financial benefit, this also provides psychological benefits to a driver who has done all that they can to protect themselves, their family and other drivers on the road.
7. Follow all traffic laws.
North Carolina driving laws exist to protect everyone on the road. The current laws were designed after countless accidents and deaths to eliminate future preventable deaths and injuries. For example, we know that people involved in car accidents who do not wear seat belts have a much greater chance of dying in the crash. In 2021, Per NHTSA, passenger vehicle occupants who died in a crash (45%) were not wearing a seat belt.
Also read What not to do after a Raleigh Car Accident.
8. Bring a DD or catch an UBER/Lyft/Taxi/Bus
In 2021, alcohol was a factor in 22% of the traffic fatalities in North Carolina, according to NCDOT data (Per ABC11). These deaths are 100% preventable.
Don't drink and drive. The cost of a ride is nothing compared to your life, someone else's life or the expense and legal repercussions of a DUI.
9. Make sure children in the car are firmly secured in place
Riding with young children can be a challenge for parents. Using a car seat that is installed using lower anchors or a seatbelt (never both) can keep your child were you can see them at all times. This can eliminate distractions for a driving parent as well as keep the child safe in the event of an accident.
10. Be careful at Roundabouts & 2 and 4 ways stops
While roundabouts are designed to make intersections more efficient for everyone on the road by reducing speed and crash severity (per RaleighNC), they can prove to be confusing for drivers.
Yielding to those to your left already in the roundabout, only entering when there is a gap in traffic (and only to your right) and using your turn signal as you prepare to exit are imperative roundabout rules.
Two way stops and four way stops also present problems for drivers. Problems arise at a two way stops when drivers assume it's a four way stop. The North Carolina DOT has determined that when two way stops are converted to four way stops there is a substantial decrease in total injury and frontal impact crashes at the intersection.
Problems arise at a four way stop when drivers fail to give the first vehicle to arrive the right of way.
When you arrive at these intersections, wait for your turn and watch out for those that don't play by the rules we learned in kindergarten to avoid an accident!
11. Perform regular maintenance on your car, especially your tires
Unfortunately, car maintenance is often forgotten when we think about safe driving. A vehicle with bald tires and bad brakes is a recipe for a car accident on wet or icy roads. Unfortunately, hydroplaning is a very real concern in Raleigh.
Broken headlights/taillights/turn signals and poorly maintained power steering can also result in serious accidents.
12. Don't drive when you are tired or heavily medicated
Unfortunately, many people assume that if they are taking "prescribed" or "over the counter" medication, it is safe for them to drive.
A quick glance at the back of any medicine bottle will dispel this myth. Many medications (opioids, antidepressants, allergy medicine and sleep aids, to name a few) can cause drowsiness, nausea and blurred vision.
In Raleigh, you can received an impaired driving charge for driving under the influence.
If the medicine you take affects your ability to drive, please don't drive.
13. Buy a vehicle with crash assist technology
This tip requires cash to purchase a car with crash assist. We know everyone does not have that cash, but for those that do, driver assisted technologies help keep you safe and other drivers as well. Some driver assisted technologies warn you if you are about to crash while others take action to avoid the crash.
In the past, crash assist technology was usually the person in the passenger seat screaming to watch out. Luckily, we have technology now.
14. Fix your mirrors and know your car's blind spots
Vehicles today are equipped with cameras; video feeds and lane assist alerts. While that technology is helpful, realizing that nothing is fool proof when it comes to avoiding a car accident is key. Making sure that your mirrors are adjusted to give you the best view and being familiar with your car's blind spots will help give you confidence as you maneuver through traffic.
15. Help your elderly relatives with their shopping/travel needs
In 2020, about 7,500 older adults (aged 65 and older) were killed in traffic accidents and 200,000 were treated in emergency rooms for crash injuries. Also, drivers aged 70+ have higher crash death rates per 1,000 car crashes compared to middle-aged drivers (aged 35-54) (via CDC).
We have all seen elderly people on the road in Raleigh driving slowly and looking uncomfortable. While it is not always possible for elderly people to rely on their relatives for help, please help them if you can.
In addition, all of us should make sure that the elderly are aware that they can use GoWake (free), GoTriangle (free) and other transportation services through the NC Division of Aging and Adult Services. Their phone number is 919-855-3400.
16. Teaching your children how to drive is important for their safety
Unfortunately, in 2021, from Memorial Day until Labor Day, there were 13,973 teen car crashes, 3,184 teen injuries and 36 teen deaths per the NC DOT.
Being a teenager comes with a unique set of obstacles. One of which is accepting the responsibilities that come with being a driver and completing driver education.
Teaching children how to drive is teaching them to protect themselves and others. If you, as a parent, are concerned that your child is not mature enough to drive, you can delay their ability to obtain a learner's permit.
Thirty years ago, denying a teenager their license was deemed a severe act by a parent, but today many teenagers are simply not interested in obtaining a driver's license.
For the parents of teens worried about safety, this may be a good thing, but as people age, a carless existence becomes harder to sustain (Via The Hill). It logically follows that teens with no driving experience will turn into adults with no driving experience.
In NC, at age 18, all that is necessary to obtain a license is passing a written test, road sign test, driving test and vision test (drivers education and driving with supervision for a period is not required) (via WRAL).
No matter what age your children begin to drive, being there to teach them how to drive defensively is a must for their safety.
17. Watch out at intersections
According to City Works, as of 2020, there were 600 signalized intersections in Raleigh. Each year roughly one-quarter of traffic fatalities and one-half of U.S. traffic injuries are attributed to intersections.
In other words, intersections are dangerous and Raleigh has a lot of them. This is one of the many reasons why Raleigh has red-light camera enforced intersections.
A driver should always wait a few seconds after the light turns green and look both ways before moving (via DriversEd). This delay can prevent a collision with a driver who runs a red light.
18. Avoid slamming on brakes
Sudden stops are not only bad for your car, but they are also bad for everyone on the road. A sudden stop can result in a long train of rear end collisions.
Driving defensively can put you on notice that something has happened in front of you and give you time to avoid a collision.
19. Watch out for pedestrians, bicycle riders and motorcycle riders
Luckily, Raleigh has seen a drop in bicyclist fatalities (per AxiosRaleigh).
Drivers should keep a vigilant look out for those not in vehicles and those not in vehicles should take all measures to protect themselves from traffic.
It is known that the eye has lower peripheral acuity and visual attention is usually concentrated where the viewer fixates - directly ahead (via Visual Expert). Realizing that we have a visual weakness when it comes to objects in our peripheral when driving will help us be more aware of pedestrian and smaller vehicle presence, especially when we are driving in a high traffic area.
20. Be Courteous
Remembering that the road is to be shared is important for every driver. Since we all have to share the road, courtesy should be extended to all. Giving someone the right of way, waiting for someone to back out of their driveway onto the road or letting a pedestrian (if you can safely do so without blocking traffic) cross the road are all simple courtesies that can save lives. These acts basically make you a superhero!
Do you need a Raleigh Car Accident Lawyer?
We hope that no one ever needs a Raleigh car accident lawyer due to being injured, but the unfortunate reality is that someone will. If you or someone you care for has been injured in a Raleigh Car Accident, our Raleigh Car Accident Lawyers can help.
Also read: What does a Raleigh Car Accident Lawyer do?
We offer free case review and no fee unless you win. Call us today, 919-615-3095 or start your free case review online now.
Also read: North Carolina Car Accident Lawyer