Anytime we get behind the wheel of our car we have to remember to drive defensively and be prepared for the unexpected. One way to do that is to make sure your auto insurance is protecting you financially while out on the roads. It doesn’t matter where you live, you take a risk when you drive. But some places are more dangerous to drive in than others.
Georgia is one of the most dangerous U.S. states in which to drive. In 2022, the Peach State was the fourth-ranked state for the most fatal car accidents in the country. Georgia’s capital city of Atlanta has its share of traffic accidents. According to the Atlanta Police Department, there were 29,776 traffic accidents in the city in 2021. So far this year, there have been a little more than 19,000 accidents reported.
Whether you live in Atlanta or are traveling through, here are 9 safety tips for Atlanta drivers that you can follow to help you navigate the city.
1. Avoid Rush Hour While Driving Through Atlanta
As more and more people move into Atlanta, the number of drivers on city roads has increased. Couple that with the thousands of vacationers traveling through the city each year on their way to warmer destinations, and rush hour through Atlanta can become a nightmare. If you can work it out with your schedule, try to avoid rush hour. Peak rush hour is typically between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. for the morning commute and between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. for the evening commute.
Another way to avoid rush hour is to use alternative routes rather than the busier main Atlanta roadways. Some of the busiest roadways in Atlanta are Interstate 285, I-85, and the Georgia 400, so try to avoid them if you can.
2. Use a GPS to Find the Best Way Around Atlanta, GA
Using a GPS can help you navigate around the more congested roadways in Atlanta and find safer and quicker routes to your destination. GPS apps like Google Maps, Apple Maps, or Waze can let you know where there is road construction, accidents, and traffic bottlenecks you’ll want to avoid. The key to using your GPS effectively is to check it for alternative routes before you travel.
3. Don’t Ride the Right Lane on Atlanta Highways
When traveling through Atlanta, or any busy city for that matter, the far right lane on highways and interstates is usually for drivers exiting the highway. If you are used to staying in the right-hand lane, you could find yourself in an “Exit Only” lane with little time or space to move over. Instead, drive one or two lanes over from the right lane to prevent having to make a last-minute lane change that could trigger a car accident in Atlanta.
4. Share the Road with Other Atlanta Drivers
Unless you’re a NASCAR driver, driving isn’t a competitive sport. You won’t get a medal for getting to work quicker than anyone else. So try to be nice and share the road with your fellow drivers. Try not to cut off another driver.
If the driver in the lane next to you is signaling to move over, let them. If you are signaling to move over and another driver lets you in, give them a courtesy wave to say “thank you.” Sitting in traffic can be frustrating but know that you aren’t the only one frustrated by the backup. Acting like a jerk and driving aggressively can lead to an accident and further delay everyone’s commute.
5. Pay Attention While Driving
Put your phone down! Driving is not the time to multitask. Reading and answering text messages, emails, or social media notifications can wait until you’re safely parked. Many vehicles today incorporate Bluetooth so you can talk on the phone while still keeping your hands on the steering wheel. However, even phone calls can be distracting.
6. Buckle Up: It’s the Law in Atlanta, Georgia
The Georgia Department of Transportation estimates that 56% of traffic fatalities involve the lack of wearing a seatbelt. Buckling up when you are behind the wheel isn’t only required by law, but doing so could save your life or prevent you from being seriously injured in an accident.
7. Protect Yourself with Affordable Car Insurance in Atlanta
Although you take all the steps you can to drive safely, sometimes getting in an accident is beyond your control. So it is vital to have adequate car insurance to protect yourself and others if you are in an accident. Georgia state law requires all drivers to carry at least liability insurance. Minimum insurance requirements in the state are:
- $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
- $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
- $25,000 property damage liability per accident
Liability insurance helps pay for injuries or damages sustained by passengers and other drivers in an accident you cause. To cover your car repairs after an accident, it’s a wise idea to add comprehensive and collision coverage to your car insurance policy.
8. Obey Atlanta’s Posted Speed Limits
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that speeding has contributed to one-third of car accident fatalities over the last two decades. More than 11,000 traffic deaths in 2020 were related to speeding, the NHTSA reports.
The maximum speed limit on rural and interstates in Georgia is 70 mph. Going over the speed limit is unsafe and could also cause you to get a hefty ticket if you’re pulled over. Under Georgia’s “Super Speeder Law,” you could be fined an additional $200 if you are convicted of speeding at 75 mph or higher on a two-lane road or 85 mph or higher on multiple-lane roads.
9. Drive Defensively
Being aware of the other drivers around you and prepared to react if someone swerves in front of you or brakes unexpectedly can help keep you safe on the Atlanta roads. Although it might be difficult during rush hour, try to keep some space between you and the car in front of you so that if they stop suddenly, you won’t rear-end the car. In inclement weather, give yourself even more space because slick, wet roads could make it hard to stop in time.