5 Harmful Driving Habits to Steer Clear Of
Like biting your nails or stress eating, bad habits are common and need to be kicked to the curb. Negligent drivers can cause accidents, minor or fatal, which can drive insurance rates up, increase driving tickets and penalties, or worse. As cited by the National Safety Council, motor vehicle fatalities have increased in 2015 from 2014 by almost 14% to approximately 40,000. Additionally, estimated accident crashes – including medical expenses, wage and productivity losses and property damage – reach roughly $142 billion dollars.
To ensure safer driving practices, here are some common nasty driving habits that should be avoided and eliminated:
Driving Under the Influence
The leading cause of fatal auto accidents is caused by drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Alcohol and other illicit drugs affect vision, reasoning, reflexes, or judgement while on the road. “Buzzed drivers” typically overestimate their abilities while in an improper condition to operate a vehicle. In 2014, alcohol impaired accidents accounted for one-third (31%) of all traffic-related deaths in the United States. Plan ahead when consuming alcohol – take a cab or Uber, have a designated driver, and leave the keys at home.
Phones and devices keep your eyes off the road and lead you to a mess of accidents. 1 in 4 crashes are caused by cell phone distractions. Distractions like social media apps, texting, and phone calls can all be easily avoided. Enable bluetooth calling if available or other hands-free applications to keep your focus on the road. Avoid the selfies and make it to your destination safer.
Driving Without a Seatbelt
Just click it. Drivers that choose not to wear a seatbelt increase their risks while driving. Particularly common for young drivers (ages 18-30), making mandatory seatbelt use for drivers and passengers make sure that, if a collision were to occur, everyone in the vehicle will be safer. Whether it’s a long journey or just around the block, always buckle up before starting your trip.
Speeding has been a regular ingredient for accidents and fatalities. As more restrictions and safer speed regulations are enacted, which has helped reduce the number of speed related accidents, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that 29% of all traffic fatalities were a result of speeding. Being a defensive driver and following posted speed limits help foster safer roadways and eliminates high impact collisions.
Driving While Tired
Nodding off on the road can lead to serious accidents. According to the NHTSA, an average of 83,000 car crashes are caused by drowsy driving. Driving while tired is also an impairment, similar to driving while intoxicated. Slower reaction times, impaired judgement, and decreased awareness are all effects of being tired while driving. Having proper sleep habits, drinking coffee or other caffeine items, listening to music or podcast, or keeping the window open allow for drivers to stay alert and attentive while on the road. If you feel tired, pull off the road to a safe location or rest area and nap before returning on your journey.
Eliminate the distractions and keep you and other drivers safer on the roads.