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Taking Measures To Avoid Vehicle Accidents Can Help Keep Your Auto-Insurance Premiums in Check

An auto accident not only damages your vehicle but also can result in bodily injuries to you, any passengers in your vehicle, and other drivers. Besides the more obvious financial consequences, if the accident is your fault, you may also see your auto-insurance rates soar. But while not all motor-vehicle accidents can be avoided, there are actions you can take to lower the risk that you will be involved in an auto collision.

Watch Out for Other Drivers

Defensive driving helps keep you safe on the road because no matter how good your driving skills are, it's what another driver may do that can get you in an accident. Driver error on the part of other drivers, such as missing a stop sign, is a common cause of auto accidents.

Intersections are among one of the most dangerous places for a collision to occur. Therefore, when you stop, always check for other vehicles before proceeding through the intersection. Even if there is a traffic light, and you have the green, look first in case another driver runs a red light.

Maintain a Safe Driving Distance

Keeping a safe following distance behind other vehicles is another way to avoid a collision, especially if a vehicle in front of you stops suddenly. Following too closely can lead to a rear-end collision.

A general rule of thumb to follow when driving on dry roads is to maintain at least a three-second following distance. To know whether you are following the vehicle in front of you at a safe distance, focus on an object, such as a traffic sign, that appears ahead. If the vehicle in front passes the sign, and then you pass the sign before you can count to three, drop back—you are following the vehicle too closely.

When traveling in heavy traffic, poor weather conditions, or darkness, put more distance between you and the vehicle you're following. Allow enough space between you and the vehicle in front so that you have adequate time to react or slow down in moving traffic.

Know Medication Side Effects

It's important to know the potential side effects of medications, including over-the-counter medicines. Talk to your doctor if you are taking prescription medications that cause drowsiness. Like alcohol, certain drugs, including sedatives, pain relievers, anti-anxiety drugs, and some antidepressants, can impair your driving ability by slowing reaction time, decreasing coordination, blurring vision, and impairing judgment of distance—factors that can lead to a crash.

If a medication you are taking makes you feel sleepy or drowsy while you are driving, your doctor may lower the dose or prescribe a different medication that causes less drowsiness. He or she also may change the timing of the dosages so that you don't feel sleepy at times when you need to drive–like when you're driving to and from work.

Keep Your Vehicle Well-Maintained

If the brake light on the dashboard comes on or your vehicle seems to take longer coming to a stop, have your mechanic take a look. Otherwise, you may find yourself in serious trouble if your brakes fail when traveling on the roadway or if you can't bring your vehicle to a stop at a red light.

Both worn tire tread and underflated tires increase the risk of being in an accident. A study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that driving a vehicle on underinflated tires rather than properly inflated tires makes it more likely that you will be in an accident caused by a tire. Underinflated tires can overheat and blow out, potentially leading to a serious accident.

Besides routinely checking the pressure in your vehicle's tires with a gauge, you may notice other signs that the tires are underinflated. If your steering wheel shakes when you're driving, or if it takes you longer to brake, your tires may be underinflated.

For more ideas for safe practices that can keep you premiums down, talk to a company such as Stanger Insurance.