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Prevent an Auto Accident by Reviewing the Rules of the Road

by  on  Car Accidents & Motor Vehicle Collisions

We live in a dangerous world, and some of the routine activities we engage in daily are actually the most hazardous. Driving is probably the best example. Getting out on a road filled with heavy vehicles moving at high speeds seems like a recipe for disaster, yet we do it all the time without a second thought.

However, maybe if we did give it a second thought, driving might be a bit less hazardous. Specifically, when we pay renewed attention to the rules of the road, we arm ourselves with the knowledge that can protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our vehicles from potentially deadly car accidents. Remember those rule books from driver’s ed class? All those rules are available online at the touch of a button now. It’s time to review.

Pay Attention to the Red Octagon

Some people jokingly tell new drivers that the stop signs with the white outlines are optional. It’s funny because all stop signs have white outlines, and we know they’re never optional. However, many of us actually drive as if stop signs are more of a suggestion than an actual rule.

Remember when you were training for your driving test and you came to a full and complete stop every time? You looked in all directions before proceeding. We need to go back to those habits that helped us get our licenses in the first place. If other vehicles or pedestrians are waiting at the intersection, we need to understand and follow the right-of-way rules.

Know When You Need to Yield

You can comb through every rule of the road and won’t find a single instance where the law says you have the right of way. Instead, the rules of the road tell you when you have an obligation to yield the right of way to other motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians.

This is a really good set of rules to review. For instance, the Colorado Driver Handbook states that drivers approaching an intersection must yield the right of way to anyone who is already in the intersection. That seems easy to remember. But what about the rules when two vehicles approach a four-way stop at the same time? The vehicle on the left is required to yield to the vehicle on the right.

Do you know who needs to yield when two vehicles meet on a narrow mountain road? Do you know what your obligations are when an emergency vehicle approaches with flashing lights? The answers to these questions vary depending on the circumstances, so it is a good idea to review all the right-of-way rules. These rules were engineered to keep you safe in different situations, so following them could save your life.

Don’t Panic at the Traffic Circle

Although Colorado was one of the first states in the country to incorporate roundabouts into regular traffic plans, they still often throw people for a loop, metaphorically speaking. Reviewing the rules about roundabout etiquette can make it much easier to proceed through these configurations safely. For instance, in a traffic circle with multiple lanes, drivers who plan to exit the circle halfway or three-quarters of the way around should travel in the left lane until they reach their exit, then switch to the right lane and turn out.

School Zones and School Buses

Children are fast, unpredictable, and liable to serious injuries if they are hit by any type of vehicle. That’s why lawmakers enacted special rules for drivers approaching schools and school buses and why these rules are so stringently enforced. Knowing your obligations in a school zone can save you money on traffic tickets, but more importantly, it could save the life of a child.

Remember the Rules for Highway Driving

Some people think they are keeping the roads safe by driving slowly in the left lane down the highway. Other people think they are driving safely by stopping on a freeway entrance ramp to wait for a big opening in traffic. These drivers are wrong.

The rules of the road for driving on high-speed roads are designed for safety, and it is a good idea for everyone to review the details. For instance, vehicles merging onto a highway are supposed to yield to traffic already on the road, but they are not supposed to stop on an entrance ramp unless directed to do so by a traffic signal. It is very hard for drivers to get up to highway speed from a dead stop. Differences in speed frequently lead to accidents with serious injuries, which is why the rules require vehicles traveling below “normal” speed to stay in the right lane.

Watch Out for Dangerous Habits

When driving was a new activity, many of us developed careful driving habits. We respected the power of our vehicles and wanted to remain in control.

Then we got used to the power and took it for granted. Many of us now regularly break the rules in dangerous ways. We:

Sometimes we realize we are breaking the rules, but the habitual behavior has become ingrained. Other times, we may not even be aware that our conduct violates the rules of the road. Either way, a review of the rules should remind us that we risk causing serious injuries to ourselves and others when we break those rules.

Following the Rules of the Road Can Help You Recover After an Accident

Following the rules and safe driving practices can go a long way toward preventing injuries in an accident. But sometimes, the bad behavior of others overrides your best precautions.

When someone’s negligent or reckless behavior causes injuries, showing that they broke the rules can make it easier for you to recover compensation after an accident. Talk to the experienced attorneys at Levine Law to find out what you may be entitled to receive if you or a loved one suffered injuries in an auto accident.