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Kind Reminder: Other People May Break the Law, So It's Your Job to Stay Safe

Accidents happen every day, and in some of those accidents, people die. This can be said about any country in the world, but it will not help those who have lost their life. It is also considered rude to say it to someone who has just lost a friend or a relative in such an incident. In an attempt to cut back on these road deaths, it is important to discuss road safety more often.
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Instead of arguing what TikTok trend is the worst, or speaking about the latest Top Gun movie, we should be thinking about road safety. Let's face it, many of you wanted to know what happened in the lead image of this story. We will get to that right away, and I promise that there is a takeaway from this article.

So, the lead image shows a semi whose driver missed an exit for whatever reason, and decided to use a highway crossover to turn. Only emergency and highway maintenance vehicles are allowed to use those crossovers, and the result can be seen in this image. The driver of a Toyota Highlander hit the trailer right in the middle.

The accident in question happened because the semi went from the right-side shoulder of the interstate into the median crossover, which meant crossing multiple lanes of traffic.

The truck had to slow down before attempting such a maneuver, while other vehicles on the road could only try to guess what the semi was doing. It might have looked like they were slowing down to stop because of an issue, not planning to make an illegal U-turn on the highway.

As you have figured out, the semi's driver was at fault for this accident, but the driver and passengers in the Highlander faced severe consequences. While the truck driver did not feel anything, the people who were in the Highlander encountered a rapid deceleration, got hit in the face with their airbags, and then experienced pain.

I am sure many of you have seen a truck or even a bus turn in front of your vehicle. In case you have not watched them with a bit of attention before, you should know that they need more room to do these maneuvers, and they take place at a low speed.

If they are not using their turn signals, and you are not using your intuition to the maximum of your ability, you may find yourself in a dangerous situation. One thing is clear, you cannot say you did not see them.

At first, you might be tempted to try to pass a slow-moving truck or bus. In most cases, the maneuver will put you at risk, even though it is a simple passing maneuver.

Always remember that you cannot guess what the drivers ahead of you will do, but you can try to predict their next move by their actions. Remember that your predictions might not pan out, so do not rely on them, but use them as a potential outcome and be prepared, at least mentally, for what might happen.

In the case of large vehicles, they will have to first turn the vehicle in the opposite direction of where they need to go if they have a tight turn ahead.

In other words, if the truck in front of you wants to take that sharp left turn towards that almost empty road on the left, its driver will slow down, first turn right, and then take a left. That is the most dangerous part of their maneuver, both for you, and for them – they are occupying more than one lane at this point, and will need all the space to pull it off.

The accident that I am writing about is an example of that kind of turn, and it could have been prevented if the semi's driver had been following the law. At the same time, it is important to note that not all people in this world will follow the law by the book.

Your best course of action is to always keep your eyes on the road ahead and try to look further down the road for potentially dangerous situations. This is something that people keep forgetting, even though they might have been taught this while attending driving school.

Instead of having someone say sorry to your family, let off the gas and be prepared for an emergency brake. Remember that a modern vehicle with a working ABS will allow you to make maneuvers even if you have your foot on the brake, because the wheels will not lock up, which means that you can also work to avoid the impact while you are slowing down.

Having the law on your side, as well as the right of way, and being right is worthless to you or your family if you end up dead in a car accident. Slowing down for what may turn into a dangerous situation will only mean a couple of seconds of delay on your route.

Speeding, not stopping at STOP signs, and not yielding will dramatically increase your risk of an accident, while not reducing your travel time, as you might imagine at first. Getting home safe is the goal, there is no prize for who gets home the fastest.

What you must always remember is that driving on public roads is never a race, and that everyone wants to get home as fast as they can without getting a ticket. It is that simple.

Sadly, people will break the law in front or around you. Those people may crash their vehicles into yours, and that means you should be ready by having your seatbelt buckled up when the vehicle you are in is on a public road, on the side of a public road, or somewhere else where other vehicles might hit it from the back, front, or side.

Another thing you must remember, which may come as a surprise now, is that studies have shown that people only pay their full attention to the road while driving for approximately five minutes out of an hour's drive. It is an unconscious process, and it does not refer just to the first five minutes of the drive.

Instead, the full attention part means that the average driver will only be fully aware of what is going on for what is added up to five minutes in an hour of driving. The rest of the time, the driver's mind is splitting the entire attention into other thoughts and processes, which increases the risk of an accident.

In case you do not remember your drive home after a long day at work, or other things like that, it happens because you were not paying attention. You only remember bits of the drive, and that is normal, but having a safe conduct at all times will allow you to be a safe driver even when you are unconsciously inattentive, even though you are wide awake and behind the wheel.

Editor's note: For illustration purposes, the article's photo gallery shows Volvo's Car Accident Research Team investigating real life car accident to improve vehicle safety, as well as other vehicle accidents.

 
 
 
 
 

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