You only have control over so much. However, even if you cannot prevent an accident, it is often possible to take measures to improve your outcome.
Here are some things that may reduce or eliminate pain, suffering and the material cost of accidents.
1. Driving defensively
Drivers education instructors really do know what they are talking about. Being wary of other operators could give you that extra few seconds of reaction time that saves your life.
2. Avoiding adverse conditions
Fog, rain and heavy winds may not seem dangerous. However, these conditions could contribute to the severity of an accident. There is even more risk at night. If you cannot avoid driving in these conditions, be aware of the danger.
3. Observing the speed limit
The speed limit is important — it is not just an arbitrary rule. One of the prime reasons it exists is to reduce the cost of injuries from collisions. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a lot of good science went into these limits, so it makes sense to follow the law.
4. Avoiding dangerous times
When you step into a vehicle, take a moment to consider the wider context. Are the bars closing? Is it a holiday season? Did a major sporting event end in the past few hours? You never know what dangers to expect on the road, but you can narrow down the possibilities if you know what is happening in your community.
5. Seeking prompt medical attention
If you do get into an accident, seek immediate medical attention. The forces involved in collisions are far beyond what human bodies naturally endure. You may have an injury even if you do not have symptoms right away.
Of course, these pointers do not account for everything. If the other driver was not paying attention or was acting recklessly in some way, that could increase the danger. The good news is that the courts typically consider that when making decisions.