Se habla español


Drive Defensively and Stay Safe in Fresno

Home » Drive Defensively and Stay Safe in Fresno
October 01, 2017
Edward Smith


Drive Defensively and Stay Safe in Fresno

I’m Ed Smith, a Fresno auto accident lawyer. Drive defensively to stay safe and protect your family when they accompany you. Other motorists may mean well, but on the road it’s important to assume that trusting yourself is the first priority.

How to Drive Defensively

Driving defensively means that you are driving to stay safe and protect the safety of others. Protecting others is something every prudent driver should do. Driving to remain safe is slightly different. This means that you are prepared for the things other drivers might do that could infringe on your safety. For instance, approaching a traffic light that has just changed to green, does not mean that you should sail through the intersection. Rather, slowing to make sure that another driver is not ignoring a red light is a defensive mechanism.

Remain Focused

Put another way, don’t talk on the phone, text, talk to a driving companion or fiddle with the GPS. Set your route before you leave, and record a message telling callers you are enroute and can’t talk right now. Ask them to leave a message. If it’s important, they will. Instruct your children that behaving in the car is important to you, and ignore anything that deviates from this logic during travel. In the end, your insistence will mean that everyone arrives home safely.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that in 2015, 391,000 people were injured, and 3,477 were killed due to distracted driving. Drivers in the 20-29 year-old age range saw the highest numbers, with 33 percent using the phone at the time of a crash out of the 11,428 drivers killed in this age group.

Watch Your Speed

Speeding was the cause of 27 percent of all fatal crashes that happened in 2015. This translates into 9,557 deaths nationwide. According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, out of the 1,982 deaths and injuries that occurred in Fresno, 440 were due to speeding, placing the city at a rank of 13 out of 14 similar cities by size in California.

Be Wary of Other Drivers

Keep in mind that everyone makes mistakes, and when driving defensively, assume that the other motorists you are sharing the road with will do just that. Be ready for any maneuver from passing on the right or tailgating to cutting you off. If you are feeling guilty about being suspicious, just imagine how much better you’ll feel about it when you arrive home safely.

Use Your Seat Belts

Seat belts save lives to the tune of 50 percent of lives saved annually in passenger vehicles and 65 percent in pickups and SUVs. One of the most dangerous situations after an accident, such as a rollover, is ejection from a vehicle. An average of 77 percent of accident victims fully ejected from a vehicle are killed. In fact, the number fully ejected falls from 30 percent to 1 percent when seat belts are used, according to the National Safety Council. However, there are times seat belts are defective and found to be the cause of injury. It is always a good idea to stay up-to-date on recalls for your vehicle, and have them fixed as soon as possible.

Use Restraints on Pets

When we travel, many of us take our pets along. Almost 90 percent of people surveyed said that they did not use seat belts designed for them with 70 percent saying they did not consider it an option. Aside from being a distraction while driving, an unrestrained pet can be seriously hurt in a crash. For example, a Labrador hits the windshield in a 35 mph crash with the force of a 1,500 pound object. To avoid this, use a pet restraint in the back seat since air bag deployment could kill them.

Yield to Others

In California, drivers at an intersection have the right-of-way if they arrive first. However, if two drivers arrive at the same time, the driver on the right is permitted to proceed first. If there is no signage such as a stop sign, drivers entering traffic must yield to traffic already on the main or through road. When you are turning right or left make sure pedestrians are not attempting to cross. If another driver starts to move out of turn, let that vehicle go first.

Let Others Know Your Next Move

Thinking that other drivers can guess your next move is reckless and puts the safety burden in their hands not yours. Use your blinkers to let other motorists know when you are about to turn to eliminate the guesswork. A study by the Society of Automotive Engineers showed that about two million accidents occur annually from failure to use turn signals. Beyond that, if you don’t use your turn signal, your insurer may refuse to pay.

Never Engage in Road Rage

Anger and driving make a poor mix. When another driver cuts in front of you, possibly yelling something in the process, just refuse to get angry. The other driver may have their own issues or be armed. Driving in a way so as to be able to avert an accident when another vehicle cuts you off is the smart way to deal with this situation and avoid a rear-end collision.

Fresno Car Accident Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Fresno auto accident lawyer. Driving defensively helps you stay safe by helping you anticipate danger on the road and take appropriate measures to avoid it. Unfortunately, accidents sometimes happen because there is nothing you can do, particularly on crowded highways. After an accident happens, talking to an attorney experienced in vehicular crashes is invaluable. I am always ready with free, friendly advice and reachable at (559) 377-7676 locally and (800) 404-5400 long distance.

Although I have been a fixture as an injury lawyer for 35 years in Fresno and Northern California, you might not be aware of my practice. I understand that most people do not have time to research extensively, so here are my Google, Yelp and Avvo reviews.

Compensation is monetary recovery for an  injury such as brain trauma that a victim suffers at the hands of a negligent party. There are many damages after a car accident, including the cost of medical expenses, lost wages and inability to enjoy certain activities. I fight hard to make sure the compensation a victim receives meets the level of damage that occurred. You can see the settlements and verdicts I’ve won for clients. My tenacity and million dollar verdicts and settlements won me a membership in a group that only allows trial lawyers with this level of achievement. Check out

Photo Attribution:

:cd ds [cs 1141] cv