How Bad Driving Habits Impact Road Safety
No matter how cautiously you drive, sharing the road with other vehicles still poses the risk of being involved in a motor vehicle crash. While you can’t control another driver’s behavior, driving defensively may help reduce the risk of car crash injuries. Learn how to avoid these four common bad driving habits to stay safer on the road.
1. Driving Under Influence of Alcohol
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), on average, 28 people in the United States die every day in drunk driving accidents. To hone in on how severe this statistic is, that’s one person killed every 52 minutes. Drunk driving accidents are preventable. If you plan on having a few drinks, designate a sober driver to save lives.
2. Driving While Distracted
Sadly, too many lives are lost to distracted drivers each year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that in the United States, over 2,800 people were killed, and an estimated 400,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes that involved a distracted driver.
There are three types of distracted driving:
- Visual distractions: Something that causes a driver to look away from the road.
- Manual distractions: Something that causes the driver to take a hand off the wheel.
- Cognitive distractions: Something that requires a driver to think about something other than driving.
One of the leading causes of distracted driving crashes is texting while operating a vehicle. Texting involves all three types of distracted driving behaviors. Some other common forms of distracted driving are:
- Talking on a cell phone
- Grooming (putting on makeup, combing hair)
- Tending to passengers/children
- Changing the radio station
- Using navigation devices
When behind the wheel, it’s critical to be mindful of potential distractions. If you must text or talk on your cell phone, pull over to a safe spot on the side of the road. Taking care of tasks like setting your radio station and plugging in GPS coordinates can help you stay focused on driving.
3. Driving Aggressively
Aggressive driving can come in many different forms and can pose a severe risk to other drivers on the road. Some of the most common aggressive driving behaviors include:
- Tailgating (following too closely behind another vehicle)
- Erratic lane changes (weaving in and out of traffic)
- Running red lights/ignoring traffic signals
- Running through pedestrian crosswalks
- Failing to obey traffic signs (stop signs, yield signs)
4. Failing to Wear a Seat Belt Restraint
While this may not technically be a driving maneuver, it’s worth a mention. It’s a proven fact — seat belts save lives. According to the latest data from the NHTSA, in 2017, seat belt use saved an estimated 14,955 lives. Failing to buckle up can put you and unrestrained passengers at grave risk.
It’s also critical to ensure all car seats are correctly installed and secured for your precious cargo. You can visit the NHTSA’s website for more information on finding the proper car seat for child passengers.
Injured in a Motor Vehicle Crash? We Can Help
Motor vehicle crashes are the top cause of catastrophic injuries such as traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and severe fractures. Not only do injuries from a car crash have physical consequences, but they can be financially and mentally taxing as well. When going through a painful recovery, the last thing you want to worry about is medical bills and costs for treatment and therapies. However, you have the right to seek compensation when harmed by a careless driver. Let us be your advocate and help protect your rights.