auto-racing-583544_640While you can never completely prevent an accident from happening on the roads, these six tips can reduce your chances of being involved in an accident in New Orleans.

1. Keep your eyes scanning the areas around your vehicle. Don’t just eyeball the car in front of you, but watch the traffic in front of that car, behind you, and on your sides as well. This increases your chance of seeing a problem while still having enough time to react to it.

2. Drive with your hands in the 9 and 3 o’clock position. While many of us were taught to keep our hands at the 10 and 2 o’clock positions, with the installation of airbags, the 9 and 3 o’clock positions have actually become safest these days. Not only does it help reduce injuries if the airbag releases, but it also provides you maximum control of the wheel with the quickest reaction times.

3. Keep your car in good shape. Adhering to the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule ensures that your vehicle will accelerate, stop and steer when needed. Also remember to keep your tires in good shape, as these are the best defenses against accidents in inclement weather.

4. Beware of blind spots. Your side mirrors and rearview mirror should provide you with one near seamless panoramic scene of the view behind you. However, remember that mirrors don’t show the whole picture. Remind yourself to scan the areas around your car and try to reduce the time your vehicle spends in anyone else’s blind spots.

5. The nighttime is not the right time. Some people like to travel at night to avoid traffic, but doing so comes with certain hazards. The rate of alcohol impairment among drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2013 was nearly four times higher at night than during the day. In addition to the possibility of increased fatigue and decreased field of vision at night, you need to be aware of inexperienced drivers and drivers who may be drunk. An average of one alcohol-impaired driving fatality occurred every 52 minutes in 2013. Drive extra defensively after midnight, when it is more likely that people are leaving bars, parties or sports arenas.

6. Learn how to drive like a NASCAR driver. It may sound totally unnecessary, but going to a high-performance driving school is one of the best ways to improve your skills as a driver. A driving school can teach you what it feels like to drive a car “at the limits” and techniques and maneuvers for accident avoidance and skid recovery in a safe, controlled environment. Understanding and practicing how to make your car do what you want in emergency situations could save your life.

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