What can cause a car accident and how to avoid getting into one
We always say that no one wants to get into a car accident, but with so many variables within drivers' control, it seems as though some drivers don't really mind getting into one.
Why do we say so? Well, if you really wanted to stay safe, why are you still using your smartphone while driving? See what we mean?
If you truly wish to stay safe on the roads, you must consider these five common causes of accidents and make a conscious effort to avoid the mistakes that will get you into trouble.
Distracted driving isn't a problem that is unique to Singapore. Even without many functions, mobile phones proved to be enough of a danger that the authorities outlawed the use of them without handsfree devices when driving.
These days with smartphones, the threat of distracted driving is extremely real. You might think that replying a text while driving is fine but, really, at the wrong moment, even fiddling with the navigation system can result in a catastrophic accident.
In fact, the leading cause for car accidents here, according to Singapore Government's statistics website, data.gov.sg, is 'failing to keep a proper lookout', which largely refers to distracted driving.
How to avoid: Put your phone aside when driving. No message or call is so important that you have to risk your life for.
Set your navigation app before driving off, so you do not have to fiddle with it while driving. Make sure you have a phone mount if you really have to use your phone while driving.
This is one of the leading causes of accidents in U.S, and it really is a problem observed worldwide.
As many people drive out to meet their friends for drinking sessions (why not, right?Taking a taxi is such a chore), naturally, they end up driving back after drinking - either thinking that they are still sober enough, or that they would surely be able to get home without trouble.
But really, driving while intoxicated is certainly a highly dangerous act. With the important cognitive abilities impaired, you wouldn't be able to drive safely.
In fact you'll be lucky if you don't end up damaging your car on the way home. Needless to say, drink driving is also highly illegal, with hefty penalties that'll see your driving license taken from you. Oh, and if you get into an accident, your insurance won't cover you.
How to avoid: Don't drive to drink, and you won't have to drink and drive. If you drove, you can consider valet services, or even towing your car home (someone actually did that).
Do you listen to the radio while driving? If so, then you might have noticed the number of accidents reported every time there is a heavy downpour. It seems like there's always someone getting into a car accident the moment the road surface gets slick and wet.
Driving in the rain can be a challenging task as your vision gets obscured by rain drops. Plus, the slicker road surface can prove to be a severe hazard. Aquaplaning might also happen if you drive too fast in the wet, which can result in an accident.
How to avoid: Ensure that your head lights are turned on - this makes your car visible to other road users amidst the adverse conditions. Keep your speed low, as driving slower in the wet will lower the risks of losing control of the car.
Hmm, this can be a tricky matter. Leave too much of a gap, and you risk getting judged for being a kayu driver.
Too little gap and you are now a rude tailgating driver. While tailgating is generally frowned upon, the problem doesn't just lie with road courtesy.
Driving too close to the car in front of you means there is much lesser leeway for human error. Should there be any sudden braking, you will have much lesser time to react to the sudden change in speed.
As such, tailgating is one of the main causes of chain collisions and pileups on the expressway.
How to avoid: Keep a safe following distance from the car in front. While you shouldn't be leaving such a huge gap that you become a traffic obstruction, it is generally better to err on the safe side and leave more gap than too little.
Poorly maintained vehicle
The safety of a vehicle is largely affected by the maintenance of it. Even if you drive a car packed with an abundance of safety features, the lack of regular maintenance can still result in failing components and, hence, car accidents.
Bald tyres, worn brakes and general lack of maintenance will make your car unsafe and unreliable to drive. Even the best driver in the world will be in trouble if the car encounters a severe mechanical failure that makes it impossible to stop or maintain control of the car.
How to avoid: Keep your car well maintained. Do not put off regular servicing, or neglect your car's wear and tear components.
This article was first published in sgCarMart.