6 Lessons Learned From Famous Auto-Accident Cases

The Association for Safe International Road Travel estimates that there are 1.3 million crash-related fatalities each year. No one is completely immune to the risk of getting into an auto accident, even celebrities and members of royal families. Fortunately, reviewing past accidents is a good way to learn how to stay safe behind the wheel. Review these famous cases to learn several ways to reduce your risk of being involved in a crash.

1. Always familiarize yourself with a new car before driving it.

On September 30, 1955, James Dean was driving a Porsche Spyder convertible when he hit a Ford sedan at an intersection. Although it seems the other driver caused the crash, Dean was driving a new vehicle and had not had time to familiarize himself with the controls. If he was more familiar with the vehicle, he might have been able to avoid crashing into the Ford. If you lease or purchase a new vehicle, take a few days to get used to the way it handles before you drive it at highway speeds.

2. Call the police if another car is following too closely; don't speed up to evade the vehicle.

Lindsay Lohan has been involved in several car accidents, but the 2005 accident that damaged her Mercedes wasn't entirely her fault. Lohan claimed a paparazzi photographer caused the crash by chasing her and ramming her vehicle. If you ever feel that a vehicle is following you too closely, the best thing to do is pull over in a safe place and call the police. If you speed up or drive aggressively to evade the other vehicle, you could be held responsible if you are involved in an accident.

3. Dress appropriately for driving a vehicle.

Isadora Duncan, an accomplished ballet dancer, died when her long scarf got tangled in the rear wheel well of a convertible. Duncan was riding in the vehicle with the top down when her scarf wound around the axle and dragged her out of the car. If you plan to drive a vehicle, avoid wearing anything that can get tangled in the steering wheel or other parts of the car. Instead of wearing flip-flops, wear closed-toed shoes to ensure your foot does not get stuck under the gas or brake pedal.

4. Limit distractions while driving a car.

In 1935, Astrid of Sweden was a passenger in a Packard One-Twenty convertible when the vehicle went off the road. Astrid, known as the Queen of the Belgians, distracted her husband by pointing out something on a map while he was driving. Keep distractions to a minimum by storing your cell phone in the glove compartment while you drive. If you are traveling with passengers, ask them to refrain from distracting you with hand gestures or loud conversations.

5. Don't exceed the tow limit listed in your owner's manual.

Spencer Clark, a 19-year-old NASCAR driver, was killed while driving a truck through New Mexico on his way to Las Vegas. Clark lost control when a strong gust of wind tipped over the truck and the trailer it was hauling. If you plan to attach a trailer to your car, check your owner's manual to determine the towing capacity of the vehicle.

6. Turn on your headlights and hazard lights if you have car trouble.

Racing driver Piero Drogo perished in an accident that occurred when he crashed into a broken-down truck in a dark tunnel. The truck did not have any lights on, making it almost impossible to see. If you experience car trouble, make sure you turn on all of your lights when you pull to the side of the road. This will make it easier for other drivers to see you in time to avoid a crash.

If you follow these tips, you have a chance to reduce your risk of being involved in an auto accident. Unfortunately, not every driver takes these precautions, putting everyone on the road at risk. If you sustained serious injuries in a crash caused by another driver, contact an experienced accident attorney in your area for more info on how to defend your case. A skilled lawyer will review your case and determine if you have a valid personal injury complaint.