By Linda Williams
Whether you’ve been driving for decades or just passed your exam, the day-to-day risks of operating a vehicle remain the same. Life-threatening hazards wait around every street corner and busy intersection, as traffic jams occur and distracted drivers run amok. Sadly, many drivers make the mistake of shrugging off the potentially deadly nature of a simple school drop-off or a quick trip to the grocery store instead of preparing for unexpected dangers.
Between work emails, radio mishaps, and children fidgeting in the back seat, distractions are easy to give into as you cruise your way from point A to B. However, diversions can result in potential injury to you or your passengers, or in hefty fines for broken laws. Ensure a safe, lawful trip by kicking bad driving habits to the curb.
Texting and driving
Texting and driving is arguably the number-one cause of motor vehicle accidents in the United States. In 2018, The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that texting and driving double your chances of crashing. Texting while operating a vehicle can cause devastating wrecks as drivers take their eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, and minds off of their morning commute. Evade avoidable tragedies by putting the phone down and, should an emergency take place, utilize hands-free technologies, or pull over to keep yourself and others safe and sound.
Distractions of any kind often go hand-in-hand with vehicle-related accidents. While most people see texting as the leading cause of driving disturbance, fiddling with your car’s stereo, talking on the phone, and tinkering with annoying GPS systems are also serious threats to road safety. Before you head out to the open road, prepare playlists, organize directions, and shoot that last-minute text to avoid endangering yourself and others with trivial distractions.
Driving under the influence
Operating any motorized vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol is tremendously unsafe and illegal in every state. When impaired, your cognitive, motor, and visual functions are weakened, decreasing the odds of a safe trip significantly. While alcohol consumption often receives airtime in safe driving campaigns, other impairments—like marijuana usage and opioid-induced disarray —are just as serious. Plan accordingly by appointing a designated driver or consuming medicines with mind-altering effects after vehicle operation.
Like intoxicated drivers, drowsy individuals wreak havoc on roadways by nodding off and drifting in and out of lanes. However, despite the apparent danger drowsiness presents, many drivers justify fatigued driving because of how common it has become.
Although sleepy, early morning commutes and late-night excursions are standard for busy individuals on-the-go, there are ways to avoid the potential dangers of drowsy driving. Maintain a restful sleep regime, play upbeat music, and in the case of unexpected fatigue, pull over and power-nap your way to a safe commute.
Irresponsible, aggressive behaviors
Every experienced driver has encountered their fair share of rage-filled tailgaters or unexpected cut-offs, often ending in avoidable accidents. Road rage, high speeds, and unchecked blind spots frequently result in anxiety-inducing incidents and tragic collisions.
Take part in safe driving habits by paying close attention to speed limits, keeping a safe distance from cars ahead, and preparing plenty of time for commutes. If you’re prone to commuting aggression, try a calming podcast, playlist, or meditation habits to keep outbursts in check and help ensure safe roadways.
The number of drivers on roadways is drastically increasing each year as more individuals take the leap and secure their licenses. Keep yourself and others safe and avoid unnecessary commute-induced anxiety by implementing safe driving habits at every turn.