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Safe Driving

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Safe Driving

Introduction

Driving a car can give you freedom. But it’s also one of riskiest things you do every day. More than 36,000 people died in car accidents in the U.S. in 2018. Millions more are injured each year.

Many things can make driving risky. Speeding, not paying full attention to the road, and driving while tired all increase your chances of a crash. Fortunately, there are things you can do to keep yourself and others safe while in the car. Researchers are working to understand what causes crashes and how to prevent them.

Distracted Driving

Anything that takes your attention away from driving can be a distraction.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), driver distraction (i.e., talking on a cell phone, eating, drinking, applying cosmetics, etc.) was a contributing cause in 20 – 30% of all accidents.  Some other facts to consider include:

  • Cell phone users are 4 times more likely to be involved in motor vehicle crashes
  • Risks are the same whether using hand-held or hands-free devices
  • Drivers who are texting, take their eyes off the road 400% more than when they are not texting
  • 10% of all drivers are using their cell phones while driving in the daytime. This means that 974,000 drivers are using a cell phone at any given time.
  • Several employers have been sued for accidents caused by employees using cell phones
    Driving and texting

There are 3 main types of distractions:

  1. Visual: taking your eyes off the road
  2. Manual: taking your hands off the wheel
  3. Cognitive: taking your mind off driving

Texting is the most alarming distraction. Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for approximately 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that is like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.

Safe Driving Tips

The impact that a car accident can have on your family financially and emotionally is tremendous.  When an employee is involved in a wreck on or off the job, it affects the business as well.  Everyone should make it a habit to make safe driving choices anytime behind the wheel of a car.  Here are some safe driving tips to follow:

  1. DO - Stay Safe:
  • Always use a seat belt – driver and passenger(s).
  • Adjust your driving for the conditions, including traffic, weather, pedestrians, rough roads, and degree of light.
  • Use a hands-free device for phone use if you must use the phone while driving.
  • Be well-rested before driving.
  • Avoid taking medication that makes you drowsy before driving, including prescription and over the-counter drugs.
  • Set a realistic goal for the number of miles that you can drive safely each day.
  1. DO - Stay Focused:
  • Driving requires your full attention. Avoid distractions, such as adjusting the radio or other controls, eating, or drinking, and talking or texting on the phone.
  • Continually search the roadway to be alert to situations requiring quick action.
  • Be patient and courteous to other drivers.
  • Reduce your stress by planning your route ahead of time, allowing plenty of travel time, and avoiding crowded roadways and busy driving times.
  1. Avoid Aggressive Driving:
  • Keep your cool in traffic!
  • Be patient and courteous to other drivers.
  • Do not take other drivers’ actions personally.
  • Reduce your stress by planning your route ahead of time (bring the maps and directions), allowing plenty of travel time, and avoiding crowded roadways and busy driving times.
  1. Vehicle Housekeeping
  • A dirty car is a hazard to you in many ways. If your windows and mirrors are dirty, it can obstruct your view from the road.
  • Lots of items such as trash, water bottles, books, or other things in your car can cause harm to you if you were to be in accident.
  • It is best to always try and have only what you need in your car while driving.
  • A tidy vehicle is a safe vehicle – that is why frequent housekeeping is so important.
  1. Keep a Safe Distance:  The general rule of thumb when operating a vehicle is to stay 3 to 4 seconds behind the car in front of you to allow for safe stopping distance.
    Driving with Safe Distance