In many accident situations, there’s not much you can do to make things better. In fact, you may not even see the accident coming, or it happens so fast, you can’t make any adjustments to make yourself safer. But if you do have the chance to act, consider these tips that can reduce the severity of the crash and keep you safer:
Trust your anti lock brake system: Most vehicles today come equipped with anti lock brakes, a system that will pump brakes faster than you’re able to in order to slow down your vehicle efficiently. If you need to brake quickly, just hold your brakes firmly and allow the ABS to pump your brakes for you. You may feel the pedal vibrate so that you know it’s working. This system works best when your wheels are pointed straight forward.
Slow down: Speed is one of the most dangerous factors in any accident. The faster you or the other vehicle is going, the more of an impact there will be. If you see an accident coming, do your best to minimize your speed.
Consider acceleration: In an accident, more speed is often the last thing you want to add to the equation, but in some situations, it’s the right choice. If it is possible for you to speed up and get out of the way, this is a smart action to take.
Remain in control or regain control of your vehicle: If your car starts to skid, steer in the direction of the skid. Avoid braking or pressing the accelerator until your tires regain traction. Always keep a firm grip on the wheel, and do your best to remain calm.
Avoid sudden movements: Respond quickly but smoothly to potential accidents. Avoid jerking your steering wheel or slamming on the brakes unless it is absolutely necessary, as these actions could cause you to lose control of the vehicle.
Aim for the object that will do the least damage: If hitting something is inevitable, do your best to steer toward an area that is likely to cause less damage. That means if you have a choice, steer for the bushes rather than oncoming traffic. Of course, keep in mind that big trees may be more dangerous to hit than other objects, and new road signs may be designed to snap off on impact. Ultimately, try to avoid head on collisions with other vehicles or running into secure immovable objects like concrete barriers.
Stay in normal driving position: Hunching, ducking, or anything that moves you out of the normal driving position can make your injuries worse, as vehicle safety systems are designed to protect you in this position. Ducking can cause your head to hit the steering wheel or dashboard and get you too close to the airbag as it deploys. Moving your arms in front of your steering wheel could put them in the way of your airbag as well. Stay upright and hold the steering wheel for the best protection.