With so many distractions and the rush of the daily commute, some drivers fall into risky driving habits. However, complacency can increase the risk of being involved in a car accident.
In 2022, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety conducted a survey that gauged common risky driving habits among participants. The results were recently released in the organization's yearly Traffic Safety Culture Index. The survey found that many drivers admitted to engaging in risky driving behaviors. More specifically:
- 22.7% of respondents admitted to speeding.
- 17.3% admitted to aggressive and distracted driving.
- 15% admitted to all types of distracted driving.
- 1.3% admitted to impaired driving.
- 2.4% admitted to all of the above risky driving behaviors.
What are the most important tips for safer driving?
The best strategy to combat bad driving habits is to prevent them from forming in the first place. Arnie Kinsler, a AAA Driving School instructor, emphasizes the importance of adhering to road rules, especially for new drivers. "People act as though speed limits and stop signs are suggestions," said Kinsler. "I've seen people eating full meals while driving 65 miles per hour."
Kinsler also suggests that drivers brush up on their skills by signing up for AAA's defensive driving course. Below, you'll find the key safer driving tips suggested by AAA.
Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of car accidents in the nation. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), it resulted in 3,522 nationwide traffic fatalities in 2021.
It only takes a split second of having your eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, and attention away from driving to cause a crash. Barbara Ward, a traffic safety specialist, suggests putting phones in 'do not disturb' mode and keeping them out of reach. If you must use your phone, be sure to pull over somewhere safe and put your car in park.
Don't drive impaired
Driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs significantly impairs judgment, reaction times, and coordination, increasing the risk of accidents. It endangers not only the driver but also passengers, other road users, and pedestrians. In fact, it's one of the leading causes of traffic fatalities across the U.S., with 13,384 deaths in 2021.
To avoid driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, designate a sober driver before consuming any substances. Alternatively, use public transportation or a ridesharing service such as Uber or Lyft if you have been drinking or using drugs. Plan ahead for social events by arranging a safe way home, ensuring you never get behind the wheel while impaired.
Don't drive while drowsy
Drowsy driving significantly impairs reaction times and reduces drivers' ability to respond quickly to sudden road hazards. It also diminishes attention and decision-making skills, which increases the likelihood of making dangerous mistakes. Drowsy driving caused 684 traffic fatalities across the U.S. in 2021, according to the NHTSA.
To avoid drowsy driving, ensure you get adequate sleep before long drives. Take regular breaks every two hours or after driving 100 miles to rest and re-energize. If you feel sleepy, pull over to a safe location and allow a well-rested passenger to drive or take a short nap.
Slow down and calm down
According to the NHTSA, speeding and aggressive driving contributed to 12,330 traffic fatalities across the U.S. in 2021. This type of driving behavior significantly reduces reaction time and makes it harder to respond quickly to road hazards or unexpected situations. Tailgating and erratic lane changes can provoke road rage and unpredictable responses from other drivers.
It's best to allow yourself extra time to get to your destination and avoid any kind of aggressive behavior. If you encounter an aggressive driver, avoid making eye contact with them. If they follow or threaten you in any way, call the police and/or drive to the nearest police station.
Hurt in a crash? Contact an experienced Maine car accident lawyer
Developing safer driving habits can significantly reduce the risk of being involved in a crash. But you can't always predict the actions of other drivers. Nor can you always prevent a collision caused by another driver's negligence. That's why the Maine car accident lawyers at Jabar LaLiberty, LLC are here to help injured motorists and their families demand justice and accountability.
If you or a loved one was hurt in a crash, we'll gather evidence to build your case and deal with the insurance companies so they can't take advantage of you. Our goal is your full recovery and obtaining the maximum compensation you deserve. To learn more about how we can help you after a collision, contact us online or call us for a free consultation. We have law offices in Portland and Waterville.