JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Traffic accidents will either land you with a large fix it bill or worse. The death count on our American highways totaled nearly 33,963 last year according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association.
Mississippi Highway Patrol officials said accidents are usually avoidable. Below are 12 ways to keep you safe behind the wheel.
Start with a safe car by keeping all maintenance up to date. "At least have it checked. Everything on your vehicle especially safety stuff, tires, brakes and wipers," said Bullock's Auto Repair of Jackson owner Ritchie Perkins.
Once on the road slow down. Don't be in a hurry, especially at intersections. When the light turns green look both ways before stepping on the gas.
Be visible! Turn on your headlights at dusk and anytime your windshield wipers are on. "Use your blinker. Let them know your intentions. Then visually look over your shoulder," said MHP Sgt. Dennis Weaver. Dennis Weaver.
Look down the road to prepare for any dangerous situations. Give yourself plenty of room between your car and the vehicle in front of you. A good rule is to find a spot on the side of the road, wait at least two or three seconds before your car passes that same spot.
"That will give you enough time to stop or react to another vehicle in front of you," said MHP Sgt. James Walker.
Keep an eye out for any sign of kids playing in the area, like a ball or toy in the road. Watch for pedestrians, especially after dark. More than 70% of all car-bicycle collisions occur at driveways and intersections, so look out for cyclists. Beware of animals in the street. The last thing you want to do is swerve around them.
"Don't try to avoid them. You might go into another lane and hurt somebody," said MHP Sgt. Walker. "If you keep straight nine times out of ten the deer won't be there because he'll just move that quick."
You will not be able to follow any of these rules if you are distracted while driving. "We can see inside the car, see you looking at your phone, texting. Especially at night, it's really easy to see that," said Sgt. Weaver.
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