Approximately 40,000 people died in motor vehicle accidents in 2016, according to the National Safety Council. Modern vehicles come equipped with advanced safety features, like lane-change warnings, brake assist and back-up cameras, but 2016 was still one the deadliest years on U.S. roads in nearly a decade.
1. Cut the Distractions
In 2014, 431,000 people were seriously injured and 3,179 lost their lives due to distracted driving. Texting while driving is one of the main distractions causing accidents on roadways, but distractions can also come in other forms, like:
- Putting on make-up
- Changing the radio station
- Changing GPS settings
- Talking to passengers
Anything that takes your eyes and/or mind off the road is a distraction.
Put down your phone (turn it off if you have to) and stay focused on the road. If you must take a phone call, send a text message or adjust your GPS settings, pull over.
2. Watch Out for Red Light Runners
Drivers are more distracted than ever, which makes them more likely to run a red light. When the light turns green, look both ways to make sure that no other vehicle is entering the intersection.
Whenever you near a light, keep your eyes peeled for drivers who may look like they’re not going to stop.
3. Slow Down
Speed limits are there for a reason, and they’re intended specifically for the road you’re driving on. Exceeding the posted speed limit puts other drivers and people at risk.
Driving at high speeds reduces your reaction time and makes it more difficult to avoid an accident. High-speed collisions are more catastrophic and deadly.
Slow down, and adhere to the speed limit. If you have trouble getting to work on time (and that’s the cause of your speeding), make it a priority to get up earlier and leave earlier.
4. Don’t Rely on Technology
Technology can be useful and even help prevent accidents, but it’s also important to rely on your own senses when driving.
Back-up cameras can help you see what’s directly behind your vehicle, but you should still turn your head and look in all directions to ensure that there are no objects or people around your vehicle.
If you rely too much on technology, you become complacent and fail to stay alert while driving.
5. Keep Your Emotions in Check
A driver cuts you off, narrowly avoiding the nose of your car. He brakes and slows down. Now you’re traveling 10mph under the speed limit and you have no option to pass the driver.
It’s easy to let your emotions get the best of you and give in to “road rage.” You may be tempted to follow closely, honk the horn or yell out of the window.
Anger is just as distracting as a cell phone. You lose all focus of the road and the world around you. Stay calm. Take another route if you have to. Just keep your emotions in check.
6. Be Courteous
Last – but certainly not least – be courteous to other drivers. Everyone must share the road. Everyone is trying to reach their destination safely. You have no idea what other drivers are going through in their everyday lives. Treat everyone with respect and do your part to make the roads a safer place.