How to Prevent Car Accidents
Over the past ten years, while working in the automotive and motor-sports industry’s I’ve heard some pretty cool sounds coming out of some amazing vehicles, roaring engines, loud exhausts, tires burning against the blacktop and the list goes on and on. Those sounds send a burst of adrenaline through my body and get by blood pumping!
On the country there are some sounds that aren’t so pleasant and send shivers down my spine. Tires squealing, metal crunching, and glass shattering…Yes sounds of a car accident! The Population Reference Bureau reports that worldwide “an estimated 1.2 million people are killed in road crashes each year, and as many as 50 million are injured.”
Many of us forget that driving a vehicle is a privilege. Yet, attention to safety and plain common sense will help us avoid getting into a car accident. The following are some good reminders for all of us no matter how long we’ve been behind the wheel.
Speed Limits, Seat Belts and Texting
If you are like me, an open road screams “peddle to the metal baby!” I admit, it’s difficult not to drive over the speed limit and I’ve personally started paying more attention to my RPMs. Fact of the matter is exceeding the limit usually makes little difference in the time it takes you to arrive at your destination. For example, over a distance of 50 miles (80 km), increasing from 65 miles (104 km) per hour to 80 miles (129 km) per hour will gain you less than nine minutes. Is it really worth risking an accident to gain that little time? I don’t think so!
Seat belts are designed for safety. While doing research for this post I found some interesting facts such as:
- A government agency in the United States concluded that seat belts saved over 72,000 lives between 2005 and 2009 in just the USA.
- An air bag does not take the place of a seat belt. The air bag works with the seat belt to provide increased protection. In fact if you do not wear your seat belt, the air bag loses its effectiveness and can even be dangerous!
So please buckle up and make sure your passengers do the same.
Between 2009 and 2011 I’ve done more driving across the US than ever before. What shocked me was how many distractions there seem to be for a majority of drivers. I see women applying makeup, drivers fiddling with navigation systems, talking on their phones while at the same time attempting to write a note and driving with their knees. Worst of all – a driver with their head pointed straight down while reading and/or composing a text. Please, please, please keep your phone out of your hands while driving as the consequences can be deathly.
Road Conditions and Maintenance
Tire traction is reduced on roads that are wet or covered with dust, sand or gravel. By slowing down, you are less likely to slide when braking. If you drive regularly on snow covered or icy roads, consider investing in snow tires for the winter. These have deeper treads and provide better traction.
Intersections can be a dangerous location for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers. One expert recommends the following: When a traffic light turns green, wait before entering the intersection. By pausing just briefly, you may lower your chances of being struck by a car running a red light.
I can’t say enough about the importance of regular maintenance, inspections and repairs by a competent mechanic. Being proactive in this department can save time, money and accidents.
Drinking and Driving
Did you know during 2008 in the United States more than 37,000 people lost their lives in automobile accidents? Guess what?! About a third of these died in crashes involving driver who had been drinking!
Most of us enjoy a drink from time to time and by and large we drink responsible. However, as a reminder even the smallest amount of alcohol can impair your driving skills. I’ve noticed that many of my friends and work companions resolve not to drink any alcohol at all if they are going to drive. Seems like that is a wise choice!
Don’t Drive When Drowsy
Most of us live very busy lives which make us tired. This in another area that deserves our attention – drowsy driving is an impairment that compares to drunk driving and is extremely dangerous. If you experience heavy eyelids, trouble keeping your head up, yawning repeatedly, trouble remembering the last few miles driven, missing exits or traffic signs, drifting from your lane or hitting shoulder rumble strips – you need to pull off to a safe area to take a nap. Your life and that of others is worth the delay!
I hope you have enjoyed these friendly reminders. Feel free to share this article with your friends.
Helpful links for retail, maintenance, approved mechanics, tires, wheels, brakes, rotors and more:
Research references: National Sleep Foundation, Awake magazine and The Population Reference Bureau