There are thousands of car accidents in the US every single day, with around 100 daily deaths from these accidents, on average. The statistics make for harrowing reading, and even with modern safety advancements, revised road rules, and greater awareness than ever before of the risks we all face when getting behind the wheel, the rate of accidents shows little to no sign of slowing down.
There are many potential causes of these accidents, from drivers who recklessly take to the road while under the influence of drugs or alcohol to reckless road users who simply fail to follow the rules, breaking speed limits and running red lights. Another very common and damaging cause is distracted driving, with accounts for close to 3,000 deaths per year.
Some researchers speculate the rate of distracted driving deaths is even higher than these estimates, because unlike driving under the influence, the standards for determining if a crash was caused by distracted driving are complex and differ between jurisdictions, or may not be tracked at all. Injuries because of distracted driving are even more common.
In a world where many modern vehicles are equipped with touchscreen entertainment systems and GPS devices, combined with smartphones in almost every person's pocket, distractions are easier to come by than ever, and it only takes a moment's lapse of concentration to cause an accident. This is why it's so important to keep the risks of distraction to a minimum, and here are some top tips to help you do just that.
One of the simplest ways to reduce the risks of any accidents occurring due to distractions on your part is to keep your driving skills in check. It's easy to let your standards start to slip over time, and many people can drive for hours every single day, gradually forgetting some of the rules of the road they learned when they were younger.
Remind yourself regularly of the importance of keeping both hands on the wheel, and always be sure to cover the basics like checking your mirrors and using signals before making any turns. These simple actions will help you stay focused on your driving, rather than letting it become a more passive activity. You can also read all kinds of tips to improve your driving skills online online if you feel you have areas that could use improvement/
Avoid Using Your Phone
Phones bring so many benefits to our lives. They can be used for almost anything, from communicating with our friends and families to keeping up with the latest news and weather reports, and it can be tempting for many people to check their social media feed or send a quick text while sitting in traffic or cruising along the highway.
In fact, an NHTSA survey showed that around 20% of all drivers admit to using their phones while behind the wheel, sending messages or checking notifications without being too concerned by the risks they face. This can be immensely dangerous, and every second you take your eyes off the road increases your risks of accident, so avoid doing this at all costs.
Make The Most Of Apps
Using your phone while you're actually driving isn't wise, but you can download and set up some apps to help you out before you actually set off. In fact, there are some apps that can even improve your driving skills and help you stay safe while driving, so it's worth taking a look at the options and seeing what benefits they can provide.
Some apps are able to monitor your driving progress as you go and then provide you with a report at the end of your journey, letting you know if you tend to brake too harshly or accelerate too fast, and others may issue alerts if you've been driving continuously for too long without taking a break.
Tidying up your car might seem like a boring chore at first, rather than something that could save your life, but you might be surprised to learn how many injuries occur from stray items left around the floors and seats in unclean cars.
When you have a collision or accident, the smallest of items, like coins or little pebbles that have fallen off your shoes, can turn into dangerous projectiles, potentially causing cuts, scrapes, bruises, and even more serious injuries as they fly around the vehicle. What's more, the sounds of these items rolling around your car while you drive can be a big distraction too. So clean up before setting off.
Don't Overdo Conversation
Having a passenger or two in your car is actually a great way to reduce boredom while you drive, making you less likely to lose concentration or feel sleepy on longer journeys. However, it can also be a risk, as some passengers can get a little too chatty during difficult driving moments and divert your attention away from the road.
There's nothing wrong with talking to your passengers and enjoying their company, but try to avoid getting into in-depth discussions or arguments, as these kinds of conversations will make it much more likely for you to lose your focus and increase your risks of an accident.
Read The Label
Be careful before taking any kind of medication before getting behind the wheel. There are actually plenty of meds, including common over-the-counter pills and medicines for treating colds and allergies, that can cause drowsiness and slower reaction times in the people who take them.
You can read up on lists of these medicines online to be aware of the risks and make sure to always read the label and know the potential side effects before taking anything. It's often wise when trying a new medication, to try it at home the first time and see if it has any effect on your concentration and alertness levels so you know about any possible issues.
Distracted driving causes a lot of accidents each and every day, and countless people are being injured and even dying because of the simplest of things, like not pulling over before making a phone call or taking their hands off the wheel to open a soda can. The risks you face from these distractions can be enormous, so it's always best to keep distractions to a minimum and make the extra effort to keep all your focus on the road.