Most individuals like to pride themselves on their driving record, and certainly drivers who have never had a car accident should be glad that they have not experienced such a difficult event. However, numbers don’t lie: a staggering amount of drivers engage in dangerous activities while driving every day. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), along with Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) have conducted study after study that have demonstrated that, when it comes to safety, most drivers—knowingly or unwittingly—engage in a staggering amount of unsafe behavior. As any experienced Coral Springs personal injury attorney can tell you, there are a lot of unsafe drivers in the world—even among those that pride themselves on their lack of an accident record.
The majority of traffic-related deaths are caused by drunk drivers; the data proving this comes from study after study performed by the NHTSA. It’s well-known that alcohol impairs the ability to react in a timely manner, a very important skill when driving, particularly at night. While education and public awareness campaigns have succeeded to some degree in making individuals more prone to avoid driving when they’re utterly incapacitated, it’s surprising how often individuals attempt to drive when they are over the legal limit, because they “feel fine.” If you have consumed more than one alcoholic beverage per hour in the last several hours, you are most likely at—if not over—the limit, no matter how you feel. Even one alcoholic beverage, consumed within the last two hours, can impair your reaction time. It’s best to make other plans for transportation if you’re planning to drink.
By the same token, many drivers engage in a behavior that seems to be less reprehensible—but which is actually every bit as dangerous; driving tired. Sleep deprivation of as little as an hour can have the same effect on reaction time as an alcoholic beverage. If you are drowsy from a long drive, it’s a much better and safer idea to pull into a safe area and take a nap in your securely-locked car, rather than trying to stay awake. Judgment is also commonly affected; many drowsy drivers end up speeding from their desire to complete their task as quickly as possible. That speed, combined with their inability to react to the rapidly-changing conditions, can be—and often is—deadly.
On the subject of speeding, the second leading cause of traffic fatalities after drunk driving is speeding. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said in a 2005 study, “The relationship between vehicle speed and crash severity is unequivocal and based on the laws of physics.” The amount of force with which a vehicle hits another vehicle, or an object on the road, is in part determined by the rate of speed with which that vehicle is traveling. Keep in mind that speed limits are designed for a variety of road conditions, to ensure the maximum amount of safety for ALL drivers.
Consider carefully the next time you go for a drive whether you might be guilty of one or more of the previously mentioned dangerous habits. Even if you don’t necessarily speed, there is another factor that contributes to a large number of accidents: reckless driving. Drive cautiously, and consider taking a class on defensive driving, and you can avoid the pain and stress of a car accident—along with the expense of hiring a Boca Raton personal injury attorney.