Backpacker Magazine recently published an article that details 8 steps that (the author claims) would have prevented 95% of the search and rescues (SAR) incidents and accidents that occurred over the summer season.
These are all common sense measures, but they're always good to keep in mind whenever you head out into the wild:
1) Never assume that your expertise will keep you safe
2) Get in the habit of turning around every 5-10 minutes and looking at your route from the 180 view
3) If you get disoriented, always retrace your steps to get back on track.
4) Take some gear, including extra clothes, a rain shell, a map and compass, a butane lighter, a headlamp, and perhaps a cell phone, pocket flares, or an emergency beacon.
5) Know the weather report.
6) Have a plan
7) Don't scramble unroped on cliffs, drop-offs or snowfields, especially if you're alone.
8) Don't be afraid to dial back your plans (i.e. don't let your ego get the best of you)
You can read the full article by clicking here.
Another thing to beware of is the first five minutes after you first start to question as to whether you might be lost or not. According to Professor Hike on Backpacker Magazine, this is the most critical time period for hikers to prevent themselves from becoming lost. The professor offers three personal case studies to show you what he means. You can click here to read the article.