Drivers who want to avoid rear-end accidents should practice safe following distances and exercise extra care in adverse weather.
Car crashes, where one car hits another car from behind, are all too common in Oklahoma. When vehicles are moving at fast speeds, accidents can happen in a split second. However, drivers can protect themselves by learning the right following distances and what to do in adverse weather conditions. Nobody can be guaranteed that they will never end up in a rear-end collision, but practicing proper road safety can greatly reduce their chances of getting into one.
Follow at a safe distance
A practice that is commonly advised in driver's education programs is known as the three-second rule. Drivers execute this simple method by paying attention to the back of the car in front of them. Once the leading car has passed an object or a dotted line on the road, the minimum amount of time that should pass before the following driver passes the same object is three seconds. Another rule of thumb is for every 10 miles-per-hour of speed, the length of one car should be put between the leading and following car. Additionally, the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety makes note of the following factors in predicting stopping time:
- The conditions of the weather can affect the road, for instance if the road is wet or icy.
- A car's brakes should be in good condition. When not properly maintained, brakes can increase stopping distance, especially on steep grades.
- The specific amount of time a driver takes to react should also be factored into determining stopping distance.
- Vehicles of heavier weights will have longer stopping distances than lightweight vehicles.
If a driver wishes to be as safe as possible and avoid colliding with another car's rear, all of the above factors should be considered. Sometimes it takes much more than three seconds to close the distance between cars in motion.
Use caution in risky weather
Weather can increase the likelihood of rear-end accidents. In wet weather conditions, large puddles of water on the road may raise the risk of hydroplaning, especially at high speeds. The American Automobile Association states that even brand new tires can still potentially lose contact with the road when hitting a 1/12 inch of water at 35 mph. In the case that skidding does occur, slamming on the brakes can further reduce control. Cruise control can also increase the chance of a car losing control when conditions are wet, and should only be used in dry weather.
People who are injured in a car accident in Oklahoma face a number of challenges. These challenges can include medical bills, lost income, and physical pain and suffering. An experienced lawyer can help them understand what their legal options are.