How safe are our nation’s roads? Good news — they are actually getting safer. According to data compiled by NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), highway fatalities decreased in 2018, with 913 fewer fatalities than in 2017.
There’s more encouraging news from FARS, too. The United States saw declines in fatalities among children age 14 and younger; alcohol-impaired driving fatalities, speeding-related deaths, and deaths of motorcyclists.
Unfortunately, there are still plenty of accidents on the nation’s roadways. Even if they are not fatal, they can cause devastating injuries — not to mention financial issues when the family car is damaged. Take a few moments right now to review these driving safety tips. They just might save your — or your child’s — life.
Don’t Drive Drunk — or Drowsy
You already know it’s a terrible idea to drive after drinking or taking drugs, but what about when you’re tired? Turns out drowsy driving can be just as bad as getting behind the wheel after a couple of drinks. If you have been awake for 18 hours, you’ll be as impaired as someone with a blood alcohol count of .05. That’s not quite legally drunk, but it’s close — and it’s bad enough to cause a serious crash.
Moms are notoriously sleep-deprived, so take steps to get more ZZZs. If that’s just not possible — for example, if you’re a single mom with a newborn — try not to drive as often. Take public transportation or use ride-sharing. Ask friends and relatives to do your shopping or opt for delivery. Or get out there with your baby and take a rejuvenating walk to the corner market. You’ll both enjoy the fresh air and exercise.
There’s a Reason for the Rules of the Road
If it’s been a while since your road test, search online for the rules of the road in your state and look them over. After all, they’re in place for a reason, explain the attorneys at https://www.lampertwalsh.com/
Follow good driving etiquette, as well. Use your signals whenever you turn, merge, or change lanes. Don’t tailgate. If someone is tailgating you, get out of their way by moving to the right lane. Remember that left lanes are for passing only. Keep a safe distance between your car and the one ahead of you; you never know when they may need to stop short.
Know how to merge safely, how to react to a four-way stop (or a downed traffic light), and what to do in the event of a vehicle malfunction. Yield to emergency vehicles approaching you from any direction, either by pulling to the side of the road and stopping, or moving to the right lane on the highway.
Reducing Road Rage — Yours and Theirs
Do your part to reduce road rage. Never antagonize another driver by making rude gestures or screaming obscenities or insults at them. If someone does this to you, or makes you feel threatened, move away from them if possible or pull over and dial 911.
If you find yourself getting hot under the collar, take some steps to cool down. Kids in the car? Sing songs with them, or play a road-trip game to take your mind off whatever’s making you angry. And remember that you are responsible for modeling safe, courteous behavior to them.
Another good technique to practice is deep breathing. Just a few seconds’ worth of controlled breathing can lower your blood pressure and heart rate. Try 4-7-8 breathing or whatever method makes you feel calm.
Just remember that no amount of anger will get you to your destination any faster, and in fact, it could end in tragedy.
Paying Attention Is Paramount
It is not easy to be in command of a motor vehicle, and even less so when you have kids demanding your attention. Teach your children from an early age that you need to concentrate on the road ahead, and that they need to stop and think before talking to you or requesting that you turn around. Give them toys, books, or other activities to keep them busy on long road trips and short jaunts alike, or play a movie or audiobook to capture their imagination.
What are some of your best safety tips? How do you stay sane in the car? Leave a comment below and tell us your thoughts!