Road accidents claim the lives of more than 1.35 million people every year, and an additional 20-50 million suffer non-fatal injuries or disabilities, according to the WHO. If these statistics are not startling enough, vehicle crashes are on the rise. Studies reveal that by 2021, road accidents will be the seventh leading cause of death.
According to road safety experts, distracted driving, driving under the influence, and over-speeding are the leading causes of road accident fatalities. Fortunately, we can improve the accident situation on our roads by following the right tips and utilizing advanced car safety systems designed to reduce, if not prevent crashes. Even with strict road safety measures in place, it is every driver’s responsibility to practice safe driving habits.
Here are some resolutions you can embrace to reduce car accidents.
1. Focus on Driving
Safe driving should always be your top priority, whether alone or with other passengers. No matter how urgent a text or call might be, always put your phone away when driving. Texting and talking on the phone affects your ability to respond quickly to road occurrences because the mind and body are out of focus. With one hand busy holding the phone, controlling the car and speed can be difficult, and that is a significant risk for fatal accidents.
The national safety council reports that out of four car crashes, one is due to cell phone distraction, including hands-free phone calls. Experts classify such accidents as preventable crashes caused by driver’s inattention. Boris Lavent, an awarding-winning personal injury lawyer in the US, offers some insights about car crashes and causes: you can visit this site for more insights.
2. Wear a Seatbelt
Fastening your seatbelt is one of the simplest ways to prevent collision fatalities. Yet, many drivers and passengers don’t find the task vital. Wearing a safety belt aids in keeping you safe and secure inside the car. When involved in a collision, a seat belt prevents you from hitting the windshield, door, steering wheel, or banging around the vehicle.
Not wearing or improperly buckling your seatbelt has serious consequences. You can be thrown out of the car during a crash, which is almost deadly. It is also important to note that airbags are not a substitute for seatbelts. If you are wearing a car safety belt correctly, the force of an airbag can cause severe injuries or even death. Always ensure that you and other passengers wear seat belts correctly to prevent car accident casualties.
3. Practice Defensive Driving
Your actions behind the wheel will not affect you only, but also others in the vehicle, and other road users. Similarly, what other drivers are doing affects you and anyone else on the road. That is why you must be mindful of the surroundings and always utilize defensive driving techniques. Look out for potential hazards like bad weather, bad drivers, and drunk drivers.
Also, watch out for the most vulnerable road users – pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcycles, as they account for 50% of deaths caused by car crashes. A general rule of thumb is to plan for the unexpected and be ready to react to mistakes committed by other road users. Never assume that the other driver is sober, or he or she will follow the traffic rules. You risk getting into an accident when they do the unexpected.
4. Avoid Multitasking and Driving
You have probably been told several times not to multitask when you are behind the wheel, and the first thing that crosses your mind is texting and driving. Surprisingly, the use of smartphones when driving is not the only form of distraction. Drivers engage in various activities that seem laughable at first glance, but when accidents happen, people realize how problematic multitasking when driving can be.
Some of the top causes of distracted driving include applying makeup, eating, listening to music, using smartphones, adjusting climate or audio controls, and reaching out for objects in the car.
5. Don’t Drive Too Closely
Also known as tailgating, following another car too close reduces the chances of avoiding a crash. When you or another driver tailgates, the driver in front of you might feel anxious, and they may choose to change lanes quickly and cut off a driver on the other lane. This move reduces your reaction time and braking capabilities to prevent rear-end collisions. It is wise to maintain a 2-second cushion between you and the driver in front. When driving in bad weather, keep it 4 seconds to avoid crashing when the vehicle in front brakes suddenly.
6. Keep Your Vehicle in Good Conditions
Although this sounds like something every driver should do without any difficulty, the number of cars that have been recalled but not fixed is startling. Keeping your car in drivable condition does not only extend the lifespan. It is one of the safest choices to prevent mechanical problems that often become noticeable when you are on the road, increasing the risk of fatal accidents.
If you are unfamiliar with vehicle maintenance safety tips, reading the car manual can help you identify areas that require regular maintenance services. Make sure you understand and follow the guidelines for checking engine oil, brakes, emission-control system, cooling and ignition systems. Inspecting and replacing damaged tires, windshields, mirrors, and lights is critical in enhancing road safety for you and other motorists.
7. Don’t Drink and Drive
Almost all countries have prohibited drunk driving, and the reasons are obvious. Drinking impairs your vision, lowers concentration, and reduces your reaction time. When you drink and drive, tasks like slowing down, braking, and following simple traffic rules become daunting or even impossible. Though drunk driving is a preventable cause of death, in 2016 alone, it contributed to 10,000 road accident deaths in the US.
The increasing rate of car accident fatalities caused by drunk drivers has forced state and federal governments to impose strict drunk driving laws to enhance road safety. To avoid fatal accidents and the legal implications of drunk driving, you should never attempt driving under the influence of illegal substances.
The rate at which road accidents cause deaths and injuries every year is alarming. One of the best ways to avoid fatalities is by practicing safe driving habits. Whether you are old or an experienced driver, it is essential to revisit driving techniques learned in driving schools and make resolutions to ensure road safety.