Automobile accidents are the leading cause of death for people between the ages of three and 34 in the United States as a result of human error. The best way to reduce the risk of being involved in an accident is to practice safe driving. Whether you’re just learning to drive or you’ve been behind the wheel for decades, it’s a good idea to review some basic rules for safe driving. Here are 5 driving tips that will help bring you and your passengers home unharmed.
1. Don’t drive Drunk. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 30% of all auto accident fatalities involve drivers impaired by alcohol. Those deaths could’ve been avoided if those drivers involved hadn’t gotten behind the wheel while drunk.
A number of impairments caused by alcohol lead to car accidents and even at low blood-alcohol levels, intoxication reduces reaction time, coordination, and lowers your inhibitions. High blood-alcohol levels cause blurred or double vision and even loss of consciousness. Not only are there safety issues with drunk driving, but it’s also a crime that will probably end in a trip to jail.
It’s easy to avoid driving drunk and if you have been drinking, simply ask a sober friend for a ride or call a cab. Or if you’re planning to drink, plan to have a designated driver for the night.
2. Don’t Speed. Research from the NHTSA has shown that for every mile per hour you drive, the likelihood of being in an accident increases by 4 to 5 percent and at higher speeds the risk increases much more.
The consequences of speeding, explained by the NHTSA, is one of the most prevalent factors contributing to traffic crashes and fatalities. In 2008, speeding was a contributing factor in 31% of all fatal crashes.
Take your time while driving and obey posted speed limits. The posted speed limits are there for a reason, your safety and the safety of others.
3. Avoid Distractions. Some states in the U.S. have passed laws that ban the use of cell phones while driving. Using your cell phone while operating your vehicle can delay reaction time by as much as 20% and is the reason for the number of deaths attributed to this activity. Not only is using your cell phone driving that cause distractions but eating, applying makeup, working electronic devices, and interacting with passengers divert a driver’s attention. The potential harm related to distractions is avoidable by following this tip: keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel.
4. Don’t Drive Drowsy. According to a study conducted by researchers at Virginia Tech reported that 20% of all auto accidents have sleepiness as a contributing factor. These responses can range from dozing off for a few seconds to zoning out and losing all focus on the road. Also, don’t try and fight the drowsiness off. Take a break until you’re feeling more alert.
5. Wear your Seat Belt. Seat belts save lives and if worn properly, they prevent you from being thrown around the inside of a crashing car or ejection. NHTSA statistics show that more than half of all accident fatalities were people who weren’t using seat belts.
Even a low-speed crash can result in severe head injuries or broken bones.