The roadways are a busy place, packed with multi-tasking, sleep deprived commuters. It’s not rare to see a driver talking on a cell phone and eating lunch while speeding down the freeway at dangerous speeds, failing to signal lane changes. Each careless and poor decision made by a driver, makes them one step closer to becoming a fatality statistic. Each year, it is estimated that 43,000 or more of the United States’ population die in auto accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Most auto accident deaths could have been prevented if the driver, of either vehicle, would have made different or better choices while driving. Fatal accidents are caused by a careless decision by some driver on the road. As a driver, it is important that you are aware of some of the top causes that lead to driver deaths.
Seat belts have been known to save lives, in the case of an automobile accident, but still it’s shocking to hear that some drivers don’t buckle up. Some may argue that seat belts are not 100 % guaranteed to save you in a crash, but others would ask, “Is taking the risk worth it?” Some argue that seat belts are uncomfortable or they have the automatic shoulder belt, so that should offer enough protection, but seat belts are not fully effective unless the lap and shoulder belt are worn properly and secured. According to U.S. Department of Transportation, seatbelt usage is up to 86%, but that still leaves the 14% of drivers who fail to use a seatbelt. Unfortunately, they may be the ones who are tragically and fatally injured in an accident.
Everyone has seen a distracted driver. He may be reaching behind his seat, searching for his wireless headset, while talking on his cellphone. She may be drinking from a cup and changing the dial on her car radio. Distracted drivers are everywhere. Texting and talking on your cellphone, while driving, are not the only distractions, but are some of the most prevalent in fatal accidents. A distraction, while driving, is anything that takes the driver’s eyes off the road, the driver’s hands off of the wheel, and the driver’s mind off of driving.
An aggressive driver is often at fault for fatal car crashes. We’ve seen the aggressive drivers on the road. They swerve, they tailgate, they run stop lights, they speed, and they pass. Their actions can be dangerous and scary when we see them shaking their fists and hear them scream obscenities. It’s true that many drivers are in a hurry and while they may not be overtly angry, their driving style continues to be aggressive and very dangerous.
Sleep deprived drivers are a risk to themselves and others on the road. Busy commuters are often sleep deprived because they need to get up extra early, hoping to avoid traffic congestion. Sleep deprived drivers may also be drivers who just got off of an “overnight shift” at work or a long-haul truck driver trying to meet his deadline. Sleepy drivers may drive aggressively while some drivers doze off while driving. It only takes a few seconds of dozing off to cause an auto accident.
Next to distracted drivers, impaired drivers are one of the top causes of auto accident deaths. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), 27 people die, each day, as a result of drunk driving crashes. Drivers, who choose to use alcohol and drugs, while driving or prior to getting behind the wheel are putting lives at great risk on the roadways.
Stay Safe, Drive Safe
While you, as a driver, do not have control of other motorists on roadways, it is important that your driving decisions are safe for you and your family. The next time you speed to get the kids to school or answer a text on your phone, ask yourself if it’s all worth the risk of a fatal accident?