According to PennDot, one out of every 43 Pennsylvanians was involved in a car crash in 2016, and three Pennsylvanians died every day due to car accidents. Though anyone can be the victim of an accident, certain behaviors make a driver more likely to be involved in one. Dangerous driving habits such as texting, drinking, speeding, or driving while stressed and tired are common factors in traffic accidents and fatalities. Keep you and your family safer by avoiding these bad habits.
Most Americans spend at least an hour or two behind the wheel of an automobile every day, commuting to work, school, and between activities. For most people driving feels easy — as routine as brushing their teeth. Unfortunately, feeling this sense of comfort while driving is misguided; driving is one of the most dangerous things Americans do. Car accidents continue to be a leading cause of injury and death in the United States.
1. Using a Cell Phone While Driving
The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that 21% (p.119) of all traffic accidents in the US are associated with drivers using their cell phones, which makes it one of the worst dangerous driving habits. The NSC states that using a cell phone while driving makes a driver four times more likely to be involved in a crash.
To minimize distraction from a cell phone, try using an app such as LifeSaver, TrueMotion, and Drive Beehive. These apps are meant to help drivers break the habit of using their phones and prevent accidents related to distracted driving. LifeSaver blocks phone use while driving and lets loved ones know the driver has arrived safely. TrueMotion keeps track of your trips and rewards you for distraction-free driving. Drive Beehive is rewards based and allows family and friends to reward each other for distraction free driving.
2.Texting and Driving
The National Safety Council states that texting while driving makes drivers eight times more likely to be involved in a crash. Despite the fact that 41 states have enacted laws banning drivers from texting while driving, 5% of all crashes still involve this dangerous habit.
If you text while driving, using one of the apps mentioned above may help you avoid breaking the law and could potentially save your life. You can also keep your phone well out of reach so that you don’t hear texts coming in.
3. Other Electronic Devices
Fiddling with your iPod, GPS, or radio while driving is just another form of distracted driving. You need both eyes on the road to drive safely. Set up your playlist and map your route before you head out on the road.
4. Driving Under the Influence
According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), 29% of all traffic fatalities involve drunk driving. In Pennsylvania, there were 297 traffic fatalities related to drunk driving in 2016.
Unfortunately, alcohol is only part of the problem. According to the Centers for Disease Control, drugs other than alcohol are involved in 16% of all motor vehicle crashes. Drugs and alcohol impair judgment and perception, increase reaction time, and reduce coordination – making a DUI one of the most dangerous driving habits.
Always choose a designated driver and never allow a friend to drive while intoxicated. Call a cab if you’ve been drinking and there’s no one who can get you safely home. If you are hosting an event where alcohol will be served, it is your responsibility to make sure that everyone driving guests home from your event is sober.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, drowsy driving is similar to driving while intoxicated. If you feel tired, take a 10-20 minute nap before getting behind the wheel. If you are driving and finding it difficult to focus, pull over and take a short nap to revive yourself before continuing on your trip.
6. Driving While Stressed
If you are feeling stressed, your judgment may be clouded and your ability to focus may be diminished. If you find yourself worked up about an argument you had with your spouse or stressed about a bad day at work, take some time before getting behind the wheel to breathe and get centered. Listening to calming music may also help keep your attention on the road.
7. Dangerous Driving Habits Includes Aggressive Driving
Aggressive driving behaviors such as tailgating and cutting off other drivers are extremely common in the US. According to AAA, aggressive driving is a factor in over half of all driving fatalities.
Cutting off and tailgating other drivers can cause a domino effect, especially if you have to stop unexpectedly — multi-car pileups can easily be caused by just one person tailgating! Aggressive driving also angers other drivers and could lead to an altercation.
The worst dangerous driving habits also include speeding, which is a huge factor in car accidents. According to the NHTSA, there were almost 10,000 fatalities attributed to speeding in 2015. Try using your cruise control setting when driving on the highway to keep your speed at the posted limit. Leave a bit earlier than you need to so that you don’t feel rushed.
9. Running Red Lights Isn’t Safe
Trying to make it through the yellow light is never worth risking your life. This is a very common traffic violation, and may earn you a ticket — or worse, cause a serious accident. If you have a habit of speeding up when you see a yellow light, practice taking a breath and slowing down instead.
10. Road Rage
Road rage is criminal behavior and is defined as aggressive or violent behavior stemming from anger directed at other drivers. If left unchecked, habitual aggressive driving behaviors could lead to road rage.
According to The Washington Post, between 2004 and 2015 road rage increased tenfold. CBS News reports that there were 620 road rage incidents in the US involving guns in 2016. Keep in mind that you should never get out of your car to confront another driver. If you feel threatened, call the police and stay inside your vehicle while you wait.
Trusted Chester and Delaware County Car Accident Lawyers
Donaghue & Labrum are expert attorneys who handle all types of personal injury cases that result from dangerous driving habits. If you have been the victim of a car accident, don’t hesitate to contact our dedicated and professional lawyers today for a free consultation.
You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and suffering. Allow us to handle the complex details of your case so that you can concentrate on your recovery. We have convenient offices in Media and West Chester, and have served the Greater Philadelphia area for over 25 years. Get the help you deserve — call us to schedule an appointment today.