Spring and summer vacations mean more road traffic. The more cars on the road, the more dangerous it can be. Your safety is important and there are some things you can do to help make sure you keep yourself and others safe.
Wear your seatbelt.
This is the one of the most preventable ways to reduce injury. Studies say that more than 40% of crash-related deaths occur from not wearing a seatbelt.
Do not use your cellphone while driving.
People are as impaired when they drive and talk on a cell phone as they are when they drive intoxicated at the legal blood-alcohol limit of .08%. Cell phone users are over 5 times more likely to get into an accident than undistracted drivers. Text messaging increases the risk of crash or near crash by 23 times.
Follow the speed limit
Speed limits are there for your safety and the safety of your community. Look for speed zones near schools, churches, and parks. It is easy to miss them, but these areas have a lot of foot traffic, and tend to have more kids.
Do not drink (or use drugs) and drive
It seems obvious but even a small amount of alcohol can seriously impair your driving ability. And this is not limited to illegal drugs. Look at your prescription medications as well. Many of them have warnings that tell you not to drive or operate heavy machines while taking them.
Don’t drive when you are sleepy
On study reports that sleepiness contributes to 20% of all accidents. Being a little drowsy is enough to increase your risk of an accident. At highway speeds, one or two seconds of inattention can lead to a disaster.
Think about the weather
You should be extra careful in bad weather. In Louisiana, summer storms can bring heavy rain. For those of us who have been caught in it, these rains can make it almost impossible to see out the front windshield. Turn on your headlights. Turn on your hazards. Slow down. Seek shelter.
Do not tailgate
You should keep a safe distance between your care and the car ahead of you. Most experts recommend the three second rule for daytime driving. Find a stationary object on the side of the road. When the car ahead of you passes it, start counting seconds. At least three seconds should pass before your car passes the same object. If you are driving at night or in bad weather, double the time to six seconds.
Watch out for the other drivers
Be prepared for sudden lane changes, sudden stops, turns without a signal, swerving, tailgating, and other bad driving behavior. You will probably come across someone like this and if you are prepared you may be able to avoid a crash.
Be a defensive driver
Aggressive driving can increase the risk of a crash. It can make other drivers angry and cause “road-rage.” Aggressive driving is not just annoying, it is dangerous.
Keep your car safe
Have your car routinely maintained and repaired. Some problems come up in between scheduled maintenance. A common problem is improper tire pressure. This can cause loss of control, and a blowout. Get your brakes checked. If the pedal is “soft” or vibrates when you push on them, you might have a problem. Take your car to a professional mechanic right away.
We wish everyone happy and safe travels this summer.