Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Avoid an Insurance Claim with these 15 Safe Driving Tips

The best way to avoid an auto insurance claim is to avoid an auto accident and the best way to avoid an auto accident is to practice safe driving! As your Lake of the Ozarks insurance agent, I want to help keep you and your passengers safe. There are more than 1,700 fatalities and 840,000 injuries yearly due to vehicle crashes off public highways. Whether you're driving around the block or are on a long road trip, keep these 15 safe driving tips in mind while you're out on the road:

1. Don't follow too closely behind other cars. 

Safe driving guidlines advise drivers to keep a safe distance between themselves and the car in front of them. You need enough time to react if that car makes a sudden turn or stop. There should be at least a 4 second space between vehicles; at night, the time should be doubled.

2. Always use caution when changing lanes. 

One of the easiest ways to get in an accident is by cutting someone off, changing lanes too quickly or not using your turn signals. Also, keep in mind that the left-most lane is for passing only. If you're not actively passing someone, be sure to stay in the right lane to allow others to pass.

3. Don't go over the speed limit. 

Speeding is not only an easy way to get a traffic ticket, but also a way to get into an accident. For your average drive across town, 10 mph faster is only going to save you a few minutes, while increasing your crash risk by as much as 50% - as your speed increases, so does your breaking distance, so slow down!

4. Watch out for others on the road. 

Just because you are doing everything you're supposed to on the road, doesn't mean that everyone around you is following the same safety precautions. Therefore, be prepared for unpredictable lane changes, sudden stops, unsignaled turns, swerving, tailgating and every other bad driving habit you can think of.

5. Avoid driving when you are tired. 

Being tired can make operating a vehicle very dangerous. You should also be aware that some medications can cause drowsiness and you should not drive after taking them. Approximately 20% off all accidents have sleeplessness as a contributing factor.

6. Don't allow children to fight or climb around.

First off, children and all other passengers should be buckled in their seats at all times. One accidental bump or too much noise can easily distract you from the road in front of you.

7. Avoid the use of cellphones. 

While it may not be "illegal" in every state yet, it is still dangerous to drive while on the phone. Cell phones, whether used to talk or text, can take your focus away from the task at hand: arriving to your destination safely.

8. Never drink and drive. 

While this is pretty much a no brainer, don't drink alcohol before getting in a car. Driving while intoxicated is illegal, plus alcohol can impair your senses, including your reaction time. Even if you're not drunk, even a small amount of alcohol can make you sleepy.

9. Make sure your vehicle is in prime condition. 

Before hitting the road, make sure your tires are properly inflated, all fluids are at their proper levels and you have a full tank of gas. If you're going on a long road trip, you might want to have a mechanic look it over before heading out.

10. Turn on your headlights. 

Using your headlights increases your visability and helps other divers see you, even when you feel like it's still light out. A car is visible for nearly 4 times the distance with its headlights on. Be sure to always use them at night and during inclement weather!

11. Come to a complete stop at stop signs. 

A rolling stop is not a stop; try spelling S-T-O-P to yourself before proceeding. Also, be sure to always turn your head left, then right, straight ahead and then left again before proceeding through an intersection. Do the same when a stoplight turns green to ensure someone else is not going to run the red light.

12. Keep your eyes moving at all times. 

Be aware of your surroundings and of any other vehicles around you, epsecially on busy highways. Notice what is happening on the sides of the road and check behind you through your mirrors every 6-8 seconds.

13. Take breaks when you're on a long trip. 

Pull over for a quick break every couple of hours, even if you don't feel tired. Grab a snack, get some fresh air and stretch your legs by walking around.

14. Familiarize yourself with local traffic laws. 

While you may know the laws in your own state, they don't apply once you cross that border. Make sure you know the rules in all the areas that you will be travel through to get to your destination.

15. Don't wait too long to re-fuel. 

Fill up before the gas guage reaches E. On an unfamiliar road, you never know when the next gas station will appear. As soon as you hit a quarter of a tank, start looking for a place to stop for gas. Be sure to check your oil and other fluid levels when you stop as well.

While not all auto accidents are avoidable, following these safe driving tips will definitely decrease your risk! One of the most important aspects of safe driving, is making sure your Lake of the Ozarks auto insurance is up-to-date. Contact Insure the Lake today at 573-348-2794 to see how we can help you with all your insurance needs!

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About the Author: Steve is a double back-flip insurance ninja. He was named Young Insurance Agent of the Year by the Missouri Association of Insurance Agents in 2010 and is a Certified Insurance Counselor. When he is not helping customers, he enjoys community service, Latin dancing with his beautiful wife and going on adventures with his two awesome sons.

Steve Naught, CIC
3736 Osage Beach Parkway
Osage Beach, MO 65065
Next to Golden Coral