How To Transform Your Driving Habits for a Safer Year Ahead
Drivers often engage in risky driving habits without even realizing it. That often includes texting and driving, speeding, and blowing through traffic signals. But many drivers don't realize how serious these habits are until it's too late. Remember, you shouldn't have to be involved in a car accident to create a safer year ahead and beyond when behind the wheel.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety's recent study, derived from their 2022 Traffic Safety Culture Index survey, sheds light on the prevalent issue of dangerous driving habits. The survey categorizes drivers into various groups based on their behaviors:
- 41.2% as "safe drivers," displaying minimal risky behaviors.
- 15% as "distracted drivers," engaging in various distractions.
- 22.7% as "speeding drivers," often exceeding speed limits.
- 17.3% as "distracted and aggressive drivers," combining both behaviors.
- 1.3% as "impaired drivers," mostly due to alcohol consumption.
- 2.4% as the "most dangerous drivers," exhibiting all of the above risky behaviors.
Driving instructors weigh in on risky habits
To adopt better driving habits in 2024, consider the advice of AAA's driving instructors. One in particular is Arnie Kinsler, an instructor at the AAA Driving School in Danbury, Connecticut. Kinsler has seen drivers engage in many risky behaviors. “People act as though speed limits and stop signs are suggestions,” he said. “I’ve seen people eating full meals while driving 65 miles per hour.”
He teaches his drivers to follow all road rules, including coming to a complete stop at stop signs. He also teaches his students to ignore other drivers who become impatient.
Gary Driscoll, another AAA instructor and former police officer, stresses the importance of situational awareness and understanding the rules of the road. “One of the best ways to instill good driving habits is to explain why a regulation is important, and what can happen if you don’t follow it,” he said.
Tips for transforming driving habits
To create better habits behind the wheel, consider doing the following:
- Minimize distractions: Any kind of distraction that takes your hands off the wheel, eyes off the road, and focus away from driving is dangerous. In 2021, distracted driving was linked to 3,522 fatalities in the U.S., according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The best way to avoid it is to put your phone on "do not disturb" and keep it out of reach while driving.
- Don't drive while intoxicated: Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is extremely risky. The NHTSA reports that it caused 13,384 traffic deaths in the U.S. in 2021. You can avoid drunk driving by having alternative transportation such as a designated driver, taxi, or rideshare service.
- Drive alert: Drowsiness significantly reduces your focus and reaction time behind the wheel. In 2021, it resulted in 684 deaths in the U.S. Take regular breaks and ensure adequate rest, especially for long journeys.
- Obey posted speed limits: Higher speeds increase the likelihood and severity of car accidents. In 2021, it was linked to 12,330 traffic fatalities across the U.S. in 2021, according to the NHTSA. To avoid this, plan ahead of time, give yourself enough time, and be aware of speed limits.
- Don't engage in aggressive driving: Whether someone cuts you off or you're stuck in traffic, it can be hard to remain calm during a stressful driving situation. However, it's best to avoid engaging in aggressive driving and road rage. If you feel threatened by an aggressive driver, simply call the police or get to the closest police station.
Hurt in a crash? Get legal help from an experienced car accident attorney
Developing safe driving habits is an excellent way to avoid a crash. Even with improved driving, car accidents can happen due to others' actions. If you're involved in a crash, Recht Law Offices can provide legal assistance. That includes advising you on your rights, investigating your car accident, filing a claim, and negotiating for full and fair compensation.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss the details of your car accident, contact us for a free consultation. With a law office located in Weirton, we serve clients in West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.