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How to Avoid Rear-End Collisions

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Rear-end collisions are among the most common types of accidents on the road. These simple precautions will help you avoid them.

Step 1: Maintain your vehicle
Check your brakes, tires, and suspension each year. Besides working brakes, your car needs good tire traction and a tight suspension to stop properly.

Step 2: Look ahead
Look ahead to anticipate traffic slowdowns and stops. Watch for brake lights, and look beyond the cars directly in front of you.

Step 3: Look behind
Keep an eye on traffic behind you, too. Lose tailgaters by changing lanes or slowly decelerating until they pass.

Tip
Before you begin driving, adjust your rearview mirrors for a clear view.

Step 4: Keep pace
Keep pace with traffic. Avoid driving much slower or faster than the other cars on the road.

Step 5: Follow the two-second rule
Leave enough room ahead for a sudden stop. Notice when the car in front passes a fixed object, such as a road sign. If you reach the same point before you can count to two slowly, you are following too closely.

Tip
Stopping distance includes reaction time plus braking time. At 60 miles per hour, you will travel 60 feet before you even hit the brake, and will need another 180 feet to stop.

Step 6: Signal and brake early
Give the drivers behind you plenty of notice before you turn, change lanes, or slow down. When traffic ahead slows, tap your brakes to alert the cars behind. Then brake gently and smoothly. Don't slam on the brakes.

Step 7: Look for escape routes
Look for escape routes as you drive. Know where you could go if you had to swerve to avoid a collision.

Tip
The best way to avoid an accident is to pay attention to the road! Don't talk on your cell phone, put on makeup, eat or drink, or fiddle with the radio as you drive.

Step 8: Stay out of blind spots
Stay out of other drivers' blind spots. If a car cuts you off changing lanes because the driver doesn't see you, you may have to slam on your brakes to avoid it.

Did You Know?
Did you know? Studies have shown that talking on a cell phone while driving slows driver reaction times by 18 percent.