Chances are you’ve been involved in at least one accident (or several) during your life, and you may have even used a Chicago car accident lawyer. While many accidents aren’t your fault, sometimes they are – in which case you may be wondering what steps you can take to avoid getting into another car accident. Whether it’s because of drunk driving, texting and driving, or simply being distracted, here are five ways to avoid an accident and keep yourself safe on the road according to our friends at Disparti Law.

1) Obey Traffic Laws

The first way to avoid accidents is by obeying traffic laws. The most important traffic laws to follow are speeding limits, signs and lights, stop signs, and yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks. Always be aware of what is going on around; remember, just because you are obeying the law does not mean the people around you are! Of course, you need to remember the number one traffic law out there: do not text and drive. This is a top cause for accidents, and you significantly decrease your chance of having one if you put down your phone.

2) Maintain Your Vehicle

Keep up with your vehicle maintenance as best you can. Always stay on top of your tire rotation, air pressure, and any other necessary automotive needs. Regularly check for any potential problems with things like headlights, taillights, or directional lights. That way if a small problem does develop you will be able to address it before it becomes more serious. As we get older our eyesight diminishes so ensure that your driver’s side rear view mirror is clean, not just so you can see behind you but also so that what is in front of you is not obscured by glare. It is important to take the time to actually test out the effectiveness of the mirrors by pulling off the road in order to ensure they are adjusted properly.

3) Wear Your Seatbelt

Statistics show that not wearing your seatbelt in an accident can put you in a worse position than if you were buckled up. Wearing your seatbelt could save your life or the lives of others on the road. You never know when an accident will happen, so always wear your seatbelt! Make sure there is nothing obstructing it, and make sure that you are wearing it properly. So long as your vehicle is on the road and/or moving, do not take it off. Wait until you are parked to do so.

4) Drive Safely

Driving safely means not speeding, obeying traffic laws, and being aware of your surroundings. It’s also important to remember that you never know when something may happen and it is better to be prepared for the unexpected. The first rule of driving safety is watching your speed limit and driving defensively in bad weather, like snow or rain. Lastly, always buckle up and keep distractions out of the car so you can focus on getting from point A to point B without incident.

5) Do Not Drink and Drive

According to the CDC, 1.2 million people were arrested for driving under the influence in 2016. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has found that one-third of all drivers involved in fatal crashes had some alcohol in their system at the time of the accident. If you or someone you know is not old enough to drink, take this as a reminder that drunk driving is illegal and can have serious consequences. Drinking and driving can be just as bad for your life and someone else’s, so make sure you are being responsible and accountable by always choosing a designated driver when planning on drinking, call a cab, or leave your car home if there is no other option.

If you get into a car accident, contact a lawyer immediately for help.