Being a safe driver protects not only you and your passengers but others on the roadways. This crash course in driver safety will help you assess your driving skills, improve your technique, learn what to be aware of, and know what steps you need to take should you get into an accident. If you have already been involved in an accident, calling an experienced Las Vegas accident lawyer sooner rather than later will help you to protect your legal rights.
Important Daily Driving Steps
There are many important steps you should take before you even get into your car. Making sure you routinely follow these steps will ensure your vehicle is safe to drive and that you will arrive at your destination. Below you will find the important daily steps that every driver should take.
Check over Your Vehicle before You Go out on the Road
It might seem a bit overzealous, but you can’t be too careful when getting into your car. You should always give your vehicle at least a quick once-over before hopping in and heading out—and an even longer inspection if you’re taking a long journey. You should pay particular attention to make sure your tires are properly inflated properly and that the rest of your car is in good condition.
Don’t Ignore Warning Lights
If there’s a warning light on in your car, simply ignoring it and hoping it will go away is not the solution. Ignoring your warning lights could put you and others in danger, so don’t drive until you have the vehicle inspected by your mechanic.
Make Sure You’re Well-Rested
You should never operate a vehicle when you’re overly tired. Driving while tired is similar to driving while drunk, as your reflexes are impaired and a momentary lapse in concentration could result in a devastating accident. You might think, “that will never happen to me,” but cases of people falling asleep while driving is more common than you think.
Fuel Yourself Properly Before Driving
You should also make sure you are properly fueled while driving. Not only that you have enough fuel in your vehicle to get to your destination, but that you yourself are hydrated and nourished. Driving while hungry could be a distraction, and you shouldn’t be tempted to eat and drive.
Don’t Try to Multitask and Drive
You shouldn’t be tempted to eat and drive. You also shouldn’t be tempted to apply makeup, light a cigarette, or do anything else that will distract you while you are driving your car. Trying to multitask while driving may not seem to be an issue for an experienced driver, but these distractions may result in an accident or a traffic citation, at the very least.
Leave with Plenty of Time to Spare
The last thing you want is to end up rushing to your destination. Make sure you leave with plenty of time to spare, taking into account any traffic or wrong turns you may take along the way. You may be tempted to speed or rush when you don’t leave enough time, and again, getting into trouble with the law may be the least of your worries. The worst-case scenario is you make a silly mistake because you’re going too fast and end up in an accident.
Plan Rest Stops and Toilet Breaks If You Need Them
If you’re likely to need them, make sure you check where you can go for a rest stop or bathroom break on your route. Getting out for some fresh air and stretching your legs may be necessary during a long drive.
Look at the Weather Forecast
Always check the weather forecast so you’re not surprised while on the road. You will need to take your time even more if it is raining or icy, and you will need to plan for these possible delays before your journey. Although the weather forecast isn’t always correct, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Remind Yourself to Stay Focused
It’s easy to go into an almost trance-like state if you take the same route each day. You need to stay focused on the road so you can be prepared for the various things going on around you. This will also help you keep your emotions under control. Getting cut off by another driver can be extremely annoying, but it’s something that will probably happen at one time or another, so you need to be prepared. Drivers tend to have more accidents when they are anxious or angry. Remind yourself to keep road rage under control and practice deep breathing before and after you get in the car.
Put Your Phone and Other Distractions Out of Reach
If you plan on using your phone as a GPS, make sure it is set up so you don’t have to touch it once you drive off, as that will get you into trouble or make you lose your concentration while driving. If you’re not using your phone as a GPS, putting it in your glove box or purse could remove the temptation to answer calls or check messages. There is simply no excuse for using your phone while driving.
Things to Be Aware Of
Las Vegas can be a confusing place for both motorists and pedestrians. There are many hazards and distractions on the roadways, and this means you have to be even more mindful than ever. In addition, an average of 40 million visitors per year come in and out of Vegas, and many of them will be just as confused by the roads as you are.
Specific places to be aware of when driving around Vegas include:
- Cactus Drive, on the south side of town. It runs east-west, and even though it’s mostly straight, the road forces drivers through a number of lane changes with no warning signs.
- “Spaghetti Bowl” interchange, near central downtown Las Vegas. Be aware of congestion at random times of the day and night, counterintuitive exit ramps, and unclear signage.
- 215 Beltway: construction has been overrun by rapid areas of growth and traffic.
Projects to Be Aware Of:
- The I-15 & Tropicana interchange
- Nellis Boulevard Rehabilitation Project
- U.S. 95 from Ann Road to Kyle Canyon Road
- SR 160 Widening between Las Vegas and Pahrump
In construction zones or “cone zones,” make sure you always slow down, stay alert, and follow any directions you are given. Saving a few minutes on your journey is not worth somebody else’s life.
It’s worth bearing in mind that Las Vegas roads are templated on a one-mile grid system with traffic lights at each intersection. This means there are huge backups during peak times. Vegas drivers usually also have to deal with hazards like flying rocks and pebbles as they drop off construction vehicles and gravel haulers.
You should also be aware that since Vegas is such a huge party destination, you may come across drivers on the road who are under the influence. Even those who are not under the influence could be reckless drivers who spend more time with their eyes on their cell phones. All of this is a recipe for disaster if you’re not practicing defensive driving techniques yourself.
Take a Defensive Driving Course
One suggestion that could help you when driving in Vegas is taking a defensive driving course. A defensive driving course will teach you to:
- Be aware of what other drivers around you are doing
- Expect the unexpected
- Assume other motorists will do something crazy, and always be prepared to avoid it
- Keep a two-second gap between you and the car in front of you, or longer if the weather is bad
- Brush up your skills with our sample driver’s test (Don’t worry. We provide you the test answers and score too)
What to Do in the Event of an Accident
On top of all of this, you need to be aware of what to do in the event of an accident. You will be shaken up and upset, and it’s easy to forget the steps to take when you’re in an emotional state. You do need to be prepared for worst-case scenarios when you’ve been in an accident. For example, the other driver may try to blame you when it was clearly their fault, or give you the false information.
Along with contacting the police so they can investigate the accident, you need to make sure you gather the appropriate evidence, too. Below you’ll find the instructions you need to follow:
- Do Not Leave the Scene: You should not leave the scene of the accident. Always wait for help to arrive.
- Make Sure Everybody is OK: If the accident is bad, you may need to check that everybody is OK in your vehicle or in the other vehicle.
- Call for Medical Assistance: If it appears that somebody in the accident is not OK, then you should call for medical assistance right away. They may be able to guide you through helping the other person if needed.
- Call 911: If nobody is seriously injured, then you may call the police on a non-emergency number. However, you should still call them to the scene as they will need to document the incident, take witness statements, and more.
- Take Photographs of Everything: The more photographs you can take, the better to back up your case. Take pictures of the entire scene, close-ups of the damage to both cars, marks in the road, everything.
- Ask Witnesses to Stick Around and Make Statements to the Police: It’ll help your case if you can get witnesses to stick around and tell the authorities what they saw. If they can’t stick around, get their details so police can contact them later.
- Get the Details of the Other Driver: Make sure you get the appropriate details from the other driver. Take down their name, address, insurance company, policy number and license plate.
- Call Your Insurance Company: When you’ve taken the above steps, you should contact your insurance company to let them know of the incident.
- Contact an Experienced Attorney to Handle Your Case: Lastly, you’re going to need to contact an attorney to handle your case. This is where Edward M. Bernstein & Associates can help.
Call the Law Firm of Edward M. Bernstein & Associates Today If You Have Been Involved in a Car Accident
Edward M. Bernstein & Associates is the best personal injury law firm in Las Vegas, and can help you if you’ve recently been involved in a car accident. Getting help with your case and injuries as quickly as possible will ensure the best possible outcome. Our firm will protect your legal rights and ensure your stress is minimized throughout the claims process. Contact 702-240-0000 to schedule your free consultation today.