Traffic deaths in the U.S. exceeded 40,000 for the third straight year in 2018, according to the National Safety Council. Despite the development of useful safety technologies such as automatic emergency braking, relatively few cars have these features.
The reality is that the choice of road, time of driving, and the state in which one drives are still key in determining safety. Follow these tips to ensure you are not involved in accidents or crashes. Some of the most dangerous roads in the U.S. - including Highway 550 in Colorado, have features that make them inherently dangerous. Why is this road so dangerous and how can you avoid accidents when driving on it?
Know The Road You're Traveling On
Highway 550 in Colorado, which has actually made the list of the most dangerous roads in the world in USA Today, runs through a pass in the San Juan Mountains. It lacks guardrails, since space on both sides of the road are needed to eliminate snow in the winter. This means that if you suddenly veered off the road, your car could plunge down the steep incline to its side. Accidents can occur either if you are driving too fast and swerve, or if you are involved in a collision with other cars on the road.
Honing Your Focus
If you will be driving on Highway 550, make sure that distractions are brought down to zero. Loud music, banter in the car, and of course, mobile phone calls should be avoided. Download an app like LifeSaver or Drive Safe.ly for a bit of tech help. Drive Safe.ly, for instance, turns text messages automatically into audio, allowing you to listen to important texts without taking your hand off the wheel. If your car has a cruise control function, by all means rely on it, especially when you enter a road you know is perilous. Highway 550 has a 25mph speed limit. Respect this fully, and keep your eyes on the road at all times.
Driving At The Right Time
According to FVF Law - a firm specializing in personal injury law - the time of day in which you choose to be on the road may have a significant effect on your chance of having an accident. Dangerous times include the evening rush hour, when people are returning home from work. The hour just after bars close in the cities you are visiting is also considered high risk, so find out these times and try to plan your journey around them. Weekends, holidays, and the start of summer and other vacation times bring more people onto the road. The more congested roads are, the more likely accidents are to occur, owing to actions such as not braking in time or changing lanes recklessly.
Investing In Key Safety Features
Collision warning system and automatic emergency braking are technologies that can ‘step in’ during a split second in which your reaction times may be slower than expected, or in which you have been briefly distracted. Because Highway 550 curves in some areas, electronic stability control will help you detect when a skid is about to occur, helping you stay in control by using an intelligent system to brake different wheels. Lane departure warning systems are cheap yet very useful, letting you know when you have stepped over a line.
Driving on dangerous roads like Highway 550 can prompt you to be a better, more conscientious driver. From investing in vital safety features to ensuring you have a good sleep before heading out onto the road, you can feel more confident and focused. One of the first steps you should take before taking your next road trip is to study your main routes, researching online to discover potential dangers on main and smaller roads alike.
Photo by Sindre Strøm from Pexels