Second Set of 10 Tips for Safe Driving
We log more time on the road today than ever. There are more and more cars on the roads. The highway speed limits have only gone higher. This means greater risk of car crashes.
In 2008 there were 6 million car crashes in the U.S. and more than 37,000 deaths from motor vehicle crashes, making crashes the leading cause of death for people between the ages of 3 and 34. The good thing is the cars have been engineered and designed for more safety. And continued improvements in technology will continue to improve the level of safety on the roads.
But until we get self-driving vehicles, it remains up to us, the drivers, to practice safe driving behaviors. Here are some tips to remember to help keep our families safe while we are driving:
- Keep your car safe by keeping your vehicle well maintained. One of the most common maintenance problems that could lead to a crash is improper tire pressure. Whether it’s uneven or too high or low, tire pressure can impact your car’s performance or lead to a blowout. Also keep a feel for proper brake pressure. If your brake pedal feels soft or vibrates when you press down, have them checked by a mechanic.
- Buckle Up. Need we really say more? Seat belts save lives. So buckle up every time for every drive. A good majority of motor vehicle fatalities (70%) are unbuckled occupants. Make sure all occupants are buckled because in a crash those who are not cause injury to those who are as they go careening about the inside of the car.
- Watch out for the other guy. Side impact crashes are more rare than forward impact, however, potentially more dangerous. And there is one sure way to avoid them. Before entering an intersection regardless of the color of the light, look in all directions to make sure oncoming traffic is all stopped and be prepared to brake if they are not. Remain observant of where other drivers are around you.
- Maintain a safe distance. Drivers need enough time to react if that car makes a sudden turn or stop. It can be too difficult to estimate the recommended distances while driving and the exact distance would have to be adjusted for speed, so most experts recommend a “three-second rule.”
- Remain calm in traffic. Accept that small delays can occur.
- Be extra careful in incremental weather. In rain, snow, ice, or fog take it easy, slow down and be aware of what is happening around you and the possibly changing conditions of the road. If the visibility is bad and you end up on the side of the road either on purpose to wait out the conditions or accidentally, turn off your lights. Other cars having trouble seeing may think you are on the road and drive toward you to follow you and not realize in time you aren’t moving.
- If you are tired, stop and sleep. Whether that’s prior to getting in the car or you get sleepy while driving, take a nap before you go or pull over and take a nap. Or have someone else drive. Just being drowsy is a distraction or could slow your response time even in typically driving situations like going through a curve in the road.
- Pay attention to the task at hand. Cell phones, radio, makeup, eating, kids fighting; it’s all distracting when driving. Limit these distractions as much as possible.
- Maintain safe speed. Research has shown that for every mile per hour you drive, the likelihood of your being in an accident increases by four to five percent .
- Stay sober. More than 30 percent of all auto accident fatalities in the United States involve drivers impaired by alcohol. Alcohol causes a number of impairments that lead to car accidents. Even at low blood-alcohol levels, intoxication reduces reaction time and coordination and lowers inhibitions, which can cause drivers to make foolish choices.
By Amie Durocher, Creative Director at Safe Ride 4 Kids and certified CPS Tech since 2004
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