Safety Tips for Driving on California’s Busy Highways

heavy california trafficCalifornia has some of the busiest roads in the nation, a factor that contributes to the number of people injured on our highways every day. The car accident attorneys at the Arnold Law Firm encourage everyone to drive safely to avoid collisions.

Below are eight important tips to help you stay safe on the road:

1. Follow the Speed Limit

It can be tempting to speed up when the surrounding drivers are traveling well above the speed limit. However, staying within the speed limit can help you avoid getting into an accident, especially if there is a sudden hazard on the road.

The faster you are traveling, the longer it takes to come to a complete stop. Also, injuries tend to be more severe if you are hurt in an accident while speeding.

Watch for weather conditions that may require you to reduce your speed below the speed limit, such as rain, fog or heavy winds.

2. Keep Right

The basic freeway rule is for vehicles to stay in the far right lane unless passing another vehicle. If you are not in the process of passing another vehicle that is traveling more slowly, stay to the right. 

Avoid being in the far left lane unless you are passing another vehicle. Once you have passed the vehicle, return to the center or right lane. You may be able to move into the middle lane while vehicles are entering the roadway from an on-ramp.

3. Make Proper Lane Changes

When changing lanes, follow these basic steps:

  • Try to leave four to six seconds of space between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you as you switch lanes.
  • Check your rearview and side-view mirrors, and check all blind spots, before attempting to move over.
  • Use your turn signal to indicate your intention.
  • Keep your speed constant while looking over your shoulder and checking your mirrors for any approaching cars.
  • Move the steering wheel slightly to move into the next lane; do not make quick movements.

4. Maximize Your Visibility

Take steps to make sure that others on the roadway can see you, such as the following:

  • Turn on your headlights when the sun is setting or when there is rain or fog.
  • Clean your lights so that they clearly shine through.
  • If you drive a motorcycle or ride a bicycle, wear reflective clothing.
  • Try to stay out of blind spots of other vehicles.

5. Avoid Distractions

Do not allow anything or anyone to distract you from the road. It is better to handle an issue after you have reached your destination. To keep your undivided attention on the road in front of you, avoid or ignore distractions such as:

  • Talking or texting on your phone
  • Eating or drinking
  • Noisy passengers
  • Children or pets inside the vehicle

6. Get Plenty of Rest Before Driving

Do not drive if you have not had adequate sleep. If you are traveling a long distance, it is also a good idea to stop every two hours. Be sure to close your eyes for a moment during your breaks to help prevent eye strain during your trip.

7. Keep Both Hands Safely on the Wheel

Avoid removing your hands from the steering wheel in case you need to make a sudden movement. Seconds matter, and one-handed steering may not be enough to avoid a sudden obstacle.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the ideal positioning of hands on the steering wheel is “9-and-3” (the same locations as 9:00 and 3:00 on the face of a clock) for optimum stability, leverage and grip. The recommendation in previous years was to position your hands at 10:00 and 2:00, but this can be a hazard if the airbag deploys.

8. Keep a Lookout

Always look for hazards in front of and around you, such as:

  • Animals
  • Pedestrians
  • Cyclists
  • Debris
  • Sharp curves
  • Pot holes

Contact a Lawyer for Assistance

If you were injured in a car accident caused by a careless driver, you may be entitled to compensation for the damages you have suffered – such as medical expenses, property damage, lost income, and pain and suffering.

Our skilled personal injury lawyers at the Arnold Law Firm can analyze your claim during a free consultation so that we can determine if recovery may be possible in your case. There are no upfront fees, and we only get paid for our services if you recover on your claim.

Call (916) 777-7777 or complete our Free Case Evaluation form today to get started.