How to Diminish Your Chances of Getting in an Accident

Safe Driving

Car accidents are all too common in the US. In 2016, 37,461 people died as a result of automobile collisions. Because many of us take on the roads daily, we are drawn to wonder: why? And in particular, why so many? When it comes down to it, we may be more familiar with the causes than we care to admit. The more comfortable we become as drivers, the more willing we are to send texts, tune the radio and eat food while operating multi-ton vehicles, often traveling at relatively high speeds.

Blink of an Eye

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the distance traveled in just five seconds at 55 miles per hour is equivalent to the length of a football field. When seen in this light, it’s no wonder there are so many motor vehicle collisions. So much can happen in the blink of an eye – quite literally, in fact. In the following, we will touch on some things you can do to avoid getting in car accidents and to stay safe more broadly.

Distracted Driving

The first and probably most commonly cited reason is distracted driving. Distraction, however, is not a homogenous term; it refers to a whole range of behaviors, each of which needs to be taken seriously. Generally speaking, these behaviors fall into three categories: cognitive, manual and visual.

Without going into too much depth about each category, there are a few things you can do to avoid distraction. Do your best not to engage in behaviors that:

  • Divert your attention from the road ahead
  • Force you to remove one or both hands from the wheel
  • Or cause you to go somewhere else mentally

According to Zendrive, an application used to collect data about driving behaviors, taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds can increase your chances of collision by a factor of 20. So don’t do it. Simple as that.

Staying Focused

And even when you do have your eyes on the road, you might feel inclined to engage in serious political conversation or deal with your children. Distracting your mind from the task in front of you can be equally dangerous. A good rule of thumb is this: deal with whatever you need to deal with before getting on the road. If you need to pause to handle something, pull over as soon as you can and handle it. In short, no multitasking of any kind is permitted from the standpoint of safety.

Drowsy Driving

Another common cause is fatigue. Hitting the road with a bobbing head can be extremely dangerous; in some cases, it can be like driving under the influence of alcohol. In fact, according to an ABC report, nearly 100,000 car accidents occurred because the driver was extremely tired.

It’s super common too: nearly 60 percent of Americans admit to driving while drowsy, despite the inherent risks. Many people do it out of a perceived or real necessity. Uber and truck drivers, for instance, might want to drive 20 hours in order to make extra cash. Even though this is entirely understandable – we all have to make a living somehow – it is extremely dangerous, not only for the driver, but for the passengers. Thus, it is imperative to stay away from the driver’s seat if you’re not well rested. Remember, it’s basically like driving drunk.

Intoxication

It probably goes without saying, but at this point, it’s important to note that drunk driving is clearly forbidden, not only in terms of the law, but in terms of common sense and safety. You don’t want to wake up the next morning with a hangover and broken bones. There’s always another way. Find a sober friend who can drive, or if you’re at a party, impose yourself and stay the night. It’s better to air on the side of rude than to risk your life and the lives of those around you.

Seat Belts

Finally, it’s important to highlight the following: Nearly half the people who perished in car accidents in 2016 were not wearing their seat belts. That’s over 10,000 people who may have survived if not for their lack of restraints. Thus, as I’m sure you’ve heard before, you should wear your seat belt at all times while operating a vehicle. There’s absolutely no reason to risk it.