Car Accident Fatalities At a Record High
7 Ways You Can Be Safer on the Road
According to the federal motor vehicle safety watchdog, the National Highway Transportation Industry, 2021 had the most traffic-related deaths reported in 16 years, with over 42,915 people dying on America’s roads. The NHTSA reported a record increase of 10.5% from the year earlier. Projections for 2022 so far are surpassing motor-vehicle fatality levels not seen in 20 years.
What’s to blame for the rapid increase in traffic deaths?
According to APA (American Psychological Association), the pandemic has been a contributor. Since Covid hit, people are processing things differently, and are often more impulsive. Those behaviors are being acted out on the road through speeding, driving under the influence of marijuana, alcohol or other drugs, sleep deprivation, and constant distraction.
Given These Sobering Statistics, Here Are 7 Ways to Be Safer on the Roads:
1. Never drive when your thinking or movement is impaired! It will not only protect you, but others on the road as well. If you’ve compromised your thought process or response time through drinking, drugs, or sleep deprivation, don’t allow yourself to get behind the wheel. The cost of an Uber is worth saving both your life and the lives of others.
2. Follow the speed limit. Though it seems like everyone is speeding these days, it’s a deadly risk to take. The NHTSA reports that 11,258 people died in 2020 due to speeding. Pay special attention to following the speed limit in school zones, construction areas, and places with heavy pedestrian traffic.
3. Use your signal when turning or changing lanes. According to Florida Statute 316.155, turn signals are required by law. If you fail to signal and cause a car crash, you could be held liable. According to the Society of Automotive Engineers, not using turn signals accounts for more car accidents than distracted driving.
4. Never run a red light. According to the Federal Highway Administration, red-light running related crashes are the most common type of crash causing injury to you and others. In 2020, drivers running red-lights killed 928 people, including other drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians and 116,000 people were injured. There’s no place you’re going that’s worth getting into a crash for, let alone taking someone else’s life. When the light turns red, protect your life and the lives of others by staying inside the intersection and waiting for the green light to go. Also, make sure to take a few seconds before driving through an intersection (when the light turns green) to watch for red-light runners.
5. Don’t drive distracted. You know the shock you feel when you drive past someone going 80 mph on the freeway while their head is down, texting on their phone. It’s terrifying to think they’re behind the wheel going that fast and completely distracted. Anything that takes your attention away from the road can be deadly for you and others. If you’re tempted to text or talk on your phone, put it in the glove compartment or the backseat or set it on do not disturb. Again, there’s nothing so important that it’s worth endangering your life or the lives of others. The same goes for any distraction including having moving pets in your car, eating while driving, talking to others in your vehicle, and playing with your navigation system, climate controls, or stereo. Even being lost in thought or spacing out is a major factor in the cause of car wrecks. Staying alert and focused on the road means you and others sharing the highway will be safer!
6. Don’t wear earbuds or headphones while driving. These disrupt your hearing and prevent you from reacting to noises that alert you to danger like a car’s squealing brakes or horn, an oncoming train, or an ambulance. An easy solution is to connect your phone to your car stereo system instead.
7. Remind kids to behave and keep voices down in the car. If a child is screaming, or kids are fighting in the backseat, it can cause a parent to lose focus on the road. Pull your car over in a safe place to handle the situation if necessary before you get back on the road.
What is Being Done Nationwide to Make Roads Safer?
In an effort to reduce deaths and decrease current statistics on America’s roadways, the NHTSA is increasing public education, especially when it comes to speeding, with their Speeding Wrecks Lives campaign.
You can help! The best thing you can do to protect the lives of your loved ones and other innocent people on the road is to drive safely and follow the 7 tips above. It takes everyone pitching in to make our roads safe again.
When you’re out there on the road, make sure you and your family are protected. At Galezano Insurance, we’ll review your policy to look for gaps in coverage, and ensure you’re not paying more than you should be for auto insurance.
Talk to a Galezano Insurance agent today! Call us at 239-202-0233.