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Road safety: 5 driving mistakes that can lead to an accident

If you have never run into trouble on the road, it's easy to believe that you'll always remain safe. But accidents happen. You could be part of a motor vehicle accident at any time, even if you're not at fault.

There are many mistakes you can make as a driver. In some cases, it only takes one error at the wrong time to cause a serious crash.

Things that can go wrong

Many factors can play into a collision. Here are five driving mistakes that can lead to an accident with injuries:

1. Distracted driving: If you're not focused on the task at hand, you could end up creating a catastrophic collision. You never want to text and drive or access social media apps on your phone while you are operating a vehicle. It can also be dangerous to retrieve objects from the floor, take care of personal grooming or turn around to see what's happening in the backseat. There are many other examples of distracted driving.

2. Inattention to other drivers: Even if you're driving safely, you can't assume that others are doing the same. Driving "defensively" and paying attention to other drivers on the road can save you from being part of an accident.

3. Improper vehicle maintenance: This doesn't have anything to do with your driving style or your attention to the road. Your vehicle requires regular maintenance in order to run safely. Your tires and brakes, in particular, should be in good working order at all times.

4. Rushed, hurried driving: When you're in a hurry, you're more likely to speed and drive recklessly. And when you do that, you're more likely to cause an accident.

5. Aggressiveness on the road: There will be times when other drivers make you mad, but you can't let this get to you. Instead, it's best to keep your distance and remain cool. Aggressive driving is a mistake you never want to make.

Fortunately, you have control over every move you make when driving your car.

If an accident occurs

If you ever do get into an accident, call for help and stay where you are. Get information about the other drivers and get witnesses if you are able to. Use your phone to take photos if you can. If law enforcement doesn't arrive soon, call 911 or ask someone else to.

Once you receive any necessary medical attention, learn more about the cause of the crash, what to do next and whether you can seek compensation from a negligent party. You may be entitled to financial damages for your injuries and losses.

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