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How to avoid reckless driving accidents

Any time we get in our cars and start to drive, there is some level of risk of a car crash. Though you cannot control other people's driving behaviors, there are ways to check the safety of your own driving and avoid reckless drivers who could endanger you and your passengers.

Here are 3 tips for avoiding reckless driving and watching for others' dangerous behaviors:

1. Leave early to avoid speeding.

According to the IIHS, almost 10,000 speeding-related accidents in 2015 resulted in death. Speeding is a huge risk factor that can be easily avoided by planning ahead of time. Leave early enough that you can reach your destination without the need for dangerous behavior. Always be aware of the speed limit while driving.

If someone else is speeding near you, be very alert and wary of them until they are far past you. Do not try to interfere with them or teach them a lesson by pulling in front of them. This is even more dangerous for you and everyone driving around you.

2. Always signal and check blind spots.

Turn signals exist for safety reasons. They alert other drivers of your intentions so others on the road can anticipate what you will do and avoid an accident. Always use your turn signal before you actually switch lanes or reach an intersection. If drivers do not use signals ahead of time, they lose their purpose.

In addition to checking mirrors before changing lanes, make sure to glance over your shoulder as well. All cars have some sort of blind spot on their sides and you may not realize a car is next to you.

If other drivers do not signal, you cannot know what their intentions are. However, you should frequently check your surroundings for nearby cars. Then it will be easier to react accordingly if someone fails to signal.

3. Leave distance between you and the car in front of you.

Tailgating is another dangerous behavior in which a driver leaves almost no distance between their car and the next. This makes it almost impossible to brake in time if traffic slows or stops, resulting in rear-end accidents. Always leave room between cars, especially on freeways where speed limits are high. Watch for brake lights to signal that traffic is slowing.

If someone is tailgating you, the best course of action is to pull over and let them pass you. Braking to make them slow down could cause a rear-end accident or incite road rage that could make them drive even more dangerously around you.

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