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Staying safe on the roadways

Motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of death in the United States. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), in 2017, 40,000 people died in motor vehicle accidents and thousands more were injured.

Driving safely should be a concern for all of us and it’s crucial to practice the rules of road safety every time you get behind the wheel. These accidents are largely preventable when drivers avoid risky driving behavior.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has identified risky driving behaviors that could reduce the number of motor vehicle accidents when avoided:

  • Drunk driving. Driving while intoxicated impairs your judgment and slows your reaction time. Drunk driving is not only dangerous and illegal but can come with serious and expensive consequences. Nationwide, 10,000 deaths are attributed to alcohol-related crashes annually, a number that increases during the holiday season.
  • Distracted driving. Anything that diverts your attention from the road is a distraction. Cell phone use, eating or changing the radio station can all distract you from the task at hand. Concentrate on driving to keep yourself and others safe.
  • Slow down. Speeding can have serious consequences like an increase in crash severity and a reduction in vehicle control. In 2016, speeding contributed to a quarter of all fatal motor vehicle accidents.
  • Drowsy driving. Driving while you’re tired puts you and other drivers in danger– drowsy driving crashes claim 800 lives per year. It’s most common for commercial drivers or for those who work long shifts, but can happen to anyone. Stay alert and get a good night’s sleep before making a long road trip.

Taking the following proactive steps while driving also keeps you safe:

  • Drive defensively. Expect the unexpected and watch out for the actions of other drivers. Keep a good driving distance between you and the car in front of you and drive with caution.
  • Always wear your seatbelt. Ensure everyone in your car is safely buckled in. According to the Centers for Disease Control, seatbelt use is the most effective way to keep you safe and reduce injuries in the event of a crash.
  • Know what to do in inclement weather. It’s important to adjust your driving for the weather conditions by reducing your speed, using your headlights and keeping a safe distance between you and other vehicles. Be aware of potential weather in your area and avoid driving if you can.

We can all do our part to reduce the number of accidents and fatalities by correcting bad driving behavior and practicing proactive habits.

 

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