Cars, trucks, and other motor vehicles have changed the world – largely for the better. But along with the conveniences that modern transportation brings to our lives, there are also some risks, challenges, and downsides that must be endured. In particular, we have to account for the fact that car accidents lead to serious injuries and deaths every single day. Without the proper safety strategies in place, our roads will continue to put millions of people at risk each year.
The Need for Better Road Safety
Each year, there are 1.3 million car accident fatalities around the world. Globally, these car accidents are the leading cause of death among young adults age 15-29 (and the 9th leading cause of death for all people). Drivers and passengers between the ages of 15 and 44 accounted for more than half of all road traffic deaths.
With more than 3,500 traffic fatalities occurring every single day, there’s clearly a problem. And while vehicle safety technology has had a positive impact on driver safety, it’s not enough. At the end of the day, it comes down to each driver’s actions and personal responsibility.
3 Safety Tips for Lowering Your Risk
You have way more control over your road safety than you realize. While it’s always possible to be blindsided by a vehicle, you’re far less likely to be injured or killed by an accident or collision when you’re taking preemptive steps to stay safe.
Here are a few safety tips and suggestions:
- Understand the Big Risks
Driving can seem like a totally unpredictable activity, but the reality is that most car accident injuries and fatalities share common factors and circumstances. By familiarizing yourself with these risks, you can recognize when you’re in a dangerous situation and remove yourself from it. Here are a few risks to be aware of.
- Naturally, inclement weather – such as snow, ice, or even rain – makes roads slicker and more dangerous. Even if you know how to drive in these conditions, consider that many do not. This means you’re potentially sharing the road with hundreds or thousands of ill-equipped drivers who are one bad decision away from impacting your day (or life).
- Large trucks. Because of their disproportionate size and weight, tractor-trailers, 18-wheelers, and other large trucks can easily crush or mangle a smaller passenger vehicle in an accident. According to TatelLawOffices the best way to avoid a truck accident is to be aware of your surroundings. Never drive directly alongside or behind a semi truck for an extended period of time.
- Most people assume that interstates and highways pose the greatest risk, but this isn’t true. You’re much more likely to be involved in a car accident on normal roads. Intersections are one reason for this. Thus, wherever you go through an intersection, always use caution. If you’re the first one to enter the intersection after the traffic light turns from red to green, pause for a couple of seconds and look both ways. It’s not uncommon for a vehicle to come barreling through a red light a few seconds after the light changes.
- Give Yourself Time
In a lot of cases, serious car accidents and collisions are caused by drivers who are in a rush to get somewhere. Whether it’s work, school, soccer practice, or a date, give yourself enough time to arrive. Doing so will lower your chances of making unwise decisions – such as speeding, running lights, tailgating vehicles, etc.
- Never Assume
One of the number one rules of driving is to never assume that you know what someone else is doing, thinking, or seeing. The reality is that most drivers are selfishly thinking about what’s happening inside their own vehicles. (You are, too!) Instead, you should assume that other people don’t see you. This will change the way you drive and lower your chances of becoming a victim.
Stay Focused Behind the Wheel
We spend so much of our lives driving, that it quickly becomes second nature. It’s not uncommon to get in the car, start up the engine, and then arrive at your destination without any recollection of what happened on the way there. The processes and systems of driving has become so familiar and ingrained in your mind that you don’t even have to give conscious thought to accelerating, braking, and putting on turn signals.
While we all eventually reach a stage where our brains allow us to essentially drive on autopilot, this is a dangerous place to be. It’s imperative that you stay focused behind the wheel. Being distracted – whether by food, music, technology, screaming toddlers, or peaceful daydreaming – exposes you to a litany of risks and dangers. Make it a point to spend your time focused on one simple task while driving: arriving alive. When this becomes your focus, everything else quickly takes a backseat.