Auto accidents are a serious issue in society today. Globally, over 1.3 million people die in auto accidents each year. That alone makes safe driving an important consideration for everyone behind the wheel of a car or truck. When you take into consideration the financial impact of these accidents, it's easy to see why safe driving should be on everyone's mind.
Fortunately, it doesn't take a high level of skill or practice to increase your safety on the road. There are four things that safe drivers avoid every time they operate their vehicle. By making the same decisions, you can lower your personal risk of an accident by a significant amount.
Risk Behavior #1--Distracted Driving
Distracted driving has been a problem as long as cars have existed. People inside a motor vehicle have conversations, listen to music, and even work on their personal grooming when they're running late. However, with the advent of smartphones, distracted driving has become a much more common problem.
In the U.S., an estimated 421,000 people were injured in an accident that involved a distracted driver in 2012. That number includes people who were both struck by a distracted driver or who were distracted themselves. Safe drivers know they can't regulate other motorist's behavior, but they can control their own. That's why they often turn their smartphones off and keep their eyes--and attention--on the road.
Risk Behavior #2--Speeding
The cynical motorist might believe that speed limits are simply posted to make money for the local police department. This is simply not the case. Speed limits exist to ensure that everyone--both motorists and pedestrians--enjoy a safe trip to their destination.
When people choose to speed, they add to their accident risk. Of the number of people killed in auto accidents during 2011, 31 percent were related to speeding. Safe drivers understand the importance of the posted speed limit and observe it at all times.
Risk Behavior #3--Fatigued Driving
The typical work day is structured in such a way that people are usually tired at the end of it. From long hours on the job to lengthy commutes to and from the office, it's almost impossible to remain fresh and well-rested during the work week. Unfortunately, that means a large number of motorists are taking on excessive risk by driving while fatigued. In fact, 37% of drivers in a recent survey state that they've actually fallen asleep at the wheel.
Safe drivers treat drowsy driving as a severe issue. They're much more likely to call someone for a ride or to pass driving duties on to a passenger when they notice that they're tired. They understand that it's always better to inconvenience a friend than to fall asleep while driving a 3,000 lb vehicle at 55 miles per hour.
Risk Behavior #4--Legal Inebriated Driving
There is a legal limit to the amount of alcohol you can drink and still operate a motor vehicle. However, there's no guarantee that you're in a good position to do so when you're under that limit. Alcohol always impairs a person's judgement and reflexes to some extent--even when they aren't legally drunk or even aware of their level of impairment.
That's what makes a designated driver so important. Safe drivers often travel with a designated driver even when they don't plan on drinking to excess. Because of this, they ensure that the person operating their vehicle is always in the best possible condition to transport them safely to their destination.
While there is no possible way to prevent the possibility of an auto accident in your life, certain behaviors will dramatically increase your risk. Auto safety isn't about lightning reflexes or luck. In truth, good decisions before you start your car are often your best defense. If you've been in accident that was caused by someone taking one of the risks in this article, you may be able to get compensation for your injuries. For more information, contact a local law firm like Sarkisian & Fleming.