Did you know that automobile accidents are consistently one of the top ten causes of death year after year? In fact, approximately 35,000 people die each year from automotive accidents where the driver is at fault. But what if we could change this?
This week we are going to talk about some dangerous driving habits that, if eliminated, could drastically reduce your chance of being involved in a preventable automobile accident. Take a look below and keep an inventory of how many of these bad habit you, or your loved ones, needs to break.
Driving under the influence accounts for approximately one third of all automotive accident deaths in the U.S. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says this represents an average of one alcohol impaired driving fatality every 51 minutes. Yikes! Use common sense and if you or the driver you are with has been drinking, call a taxi or friend to come get you. Even better, plan ahead and have a designated driver.
2. Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is increasingly getting worse, we see it everyday on our roads. Eating, applying makeup and/or shaving used to be the most common concerns, but with the progression in technology we now face other challenges. Texting, talking on the phone and listen to music are all major distraction that take our eyes off the road and our minds off driving. State legislators and large corporations have tried to lessen this problem by putting laws into effect and running marketing campaigns, but the problem still exists. We are making progress; fourteen states have banned handheld cell phone use and an astonishing 46 states have banned text messaging while driving, but we still need more drivers to make the commitment to not do these things when driving. It may sound cliche, but it can wait!
According to the NHTSA, speeding is the second major contributing factor in traffic fatalities. The greater the speed, the longer it takes to stop the car and potentially avoid an accident. Speed limit signs are posted for a reason and represent the safe speed for that road. Just as speeding is dangerous so can be driving too slow. To be safe, take note of the posted speed limit and adjust your speed accordingly.
4. Drowsy Driving
Driving while tired can be as dangerous as drunk driving. The NHTSA estimates that drowsy driving causes 100,000 accidents a year. Being tired can cause poor judgment and slower reaction time and if you fall asleep at the wheel there is no reaction at all. If you notice your eyelids getting heavy, your head nodding or you’re doing things like rolling down the window or turning up the radio to stay awake, pull over and take a rest, it could save your life and the lives of others!
5. Weather Conditions
You’re best bet for avoiding an accident in bad weather is to stay off the roads. However, if that is not an option, make adjustments according to the conditions. The NHTSA estimates that 24% of vehicle crashes are weather related. When roads are slippery and wet, drive slower and leave a greater distance between you and the car in front of you. Again, these are common sense recommendations, but it never hurts to cover them again.
6. Not Wearing a Seat Belt
Wearing a seat belt saves lives, period. According to the NHTSA, seat belts saved the lives of over 12,000 people in 2012 alone. All states have laws requiring minors to wear seat belts and all states except New Hampshire require adults to wear them as well. This is a simple way to avoid injury or death, click it and make sure your occupants do too.
Doing your part as a safe and attentive driver can help you avoid an accident. Unfortunately car accidents will never be eliminated 100% but you can reduce your chances by being responsible and focusing solely on driving while you are behind the wheel. Don’t leave your safety and the safety of others to chance, break these dangerous driving habits while you can.