Odds are, you’ve witnessed your fair share of accidents or you’ve been in one or two yourself. That being said, what safety procedures can keep drivers protected in a car accident? And, once a crash is imminent, what measures will increase the odds of survival? Here are five tips to help you survive a car accident.
1. Sit as far back from the steering wheel as possible
Airbags are a safety device designed to protect you from major injuries in a collision. But if you’re sitting too close to the steering wheel, it can hit you with too much force, which could potentially cause more injuries than it prevents.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration]( https://www.nhtsa.gov/equipment/air-bags) (NHTSA) recommends people sit at least 10 inches back from the steering wheel. In the event of a car crash, that distance will allow the airbag to fully deploy before you make contact with it.
Children should never sit in the front seat because the force of the deploying airbag could potentially cause severe injury or even death in some cases.
2. Wear a seat belt
In a collision, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) found that front-seat occupants are 45% less likely to succumb to injuries in a collision when they’re wearing a seat belt. Not to mention, the risk of serious injury is cut in half. It goes without saying, wearing your seat belt is easily the most effective way to survive a car accident.
Likewise, make sure children’s booster seats and car seats are always connected to seat belts. You can find the information on how to properly attach them on the back of the seat or in the owner’s manual.
3. Keep your safety equipment in working order
Your car’s safety equipment includes a range of systems including the tires, brakes, anti-lock brakes, airbags, and more. Keeping your car in good shape, will not only keep your insurance company happy, it can also help mitigate the effects of a major accident (which could mean the difference between life and death). For instance, driving on an old tire that is ready to blow could be extremely dangerous, especially if you’re driving at highway speeds.
4. Subscribe to in-vehicle emergency services
There are services that alert emergency services when an accident is detected. General Motors vehicles have OnStar, for example. Should you be seriously hurt in a collision, you may not be able to reach your phone and call for help. If your vehicle has automatic 911 assist capabilities, it can summon crews that will come to your rescue.
5. Remain as calm as possible
Time seems to slow down when an accident is imminent. If you find yourself about to get into a collision, try to keep yourself as calm and controlled as possible. Jerking the steering wheel at a high speed could result in your car rolling over or potentially swerving into oncoming traffic. If you stay calm, you could make rational decisions that could potentially save your life.
6. Reduce your speed
When an accident seems inevitable, reducing your speed will reduce the potential impact. You may need to slam on the brakes as hard as you can or use a guardrail to create extra drag. The less impact you make with another car or object, the better your chances of surviving with as few injuries as possible.