8 Ways to Avoid Traffic Accidents and Tickets

  • Slow down. Driving too fast is one sure way to end up in an accident or with a ticket. In recent years, many states and provinces have tightened their laws on reckless driving particularly. If you are caught exceeding a threshold speed, you may be charged criminally, rather than with a simple traffic citation. The penalties for reckless driving may include substantial fines, license suspension and even jail time for repeat offenders.


  • Don’t text or email while driving. Texting or using a smart phone while driving is now illegal in several states and many localities and may not only earn you a traffic ticket, but also injure or kill you. Numerous studies have shown that texting or using your smart phone while driving substantially increases your chance of injury or death. The number of injuries and deaths caused by distracted drivers has skyrocketed in recent years. Avoid serious injury and death (and tickets) by always safely pulling to the side of the road and stopping before texting or using your smart phone.


  • Never drink and drive. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol puts your life and the lives of others in grave danger. Even blood alcohol levels below your state’s legal limit can impair your driving and increase your chance of injury or death in an accident. First offenses of DUI or DWI may land you in jail and leave you with a criminal record. The best way to avoid DUI or DWI accidents and criminal charges is to avoid drinking and driving all together.


  • Think twice before running a light. Running a red light may save you a few seconds, but it puts you, your passengers and other drivers around you at risk of serious injury or death. Drivers running red lights cause nearly 1,000 deaths and 90,000 injuries each year in the United States. Red light traffic cameras are now used throughout the U.S. and Canada, so even if you escape injury, you may not escape a ticket.


  • Follow at a safe distance. In ideal road conditions you should leave at least 3 seconds between you and the car in front of you. If you are hauling a heavy load or driving in wet or icy conditions, leave at least 7 or 8 seconds between you and the car ahead of you. Rear-enders cause nearly as many deaths and injuries per year as intersection collisions.


  • Have your vehicle checked regularly. Defective equipment is no excuse for an accident. Make sure your lights, wipers, brakes, and other safety features are in proper working order. Also, frequently check your tire pressure and wear, especially when the outside temperatures fluctuate between seasons. Improper pressure and wear could lead to a dangerous blowout.


  • Be prepared for difficult weather. If you are driving in wet or icy weather, allow yourself extra time and drive with caution. If you are particularly uncomfortable driving in bad weather, stay off the road until conditions improve.


  • Make sure you have the right car seat for your child. It is extremely important to protect your children by ensuring they are in the appropriate car seat for their age and size. Most states and provinces have strict laws regarding child safety seats. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers a great resource to help parents ensure their children are protected.