The roads are only as safe as the worst driver.
It's an unfortunate reality. Say you have 10 cars on a stretch of highway. Nine of those drivers can observe the speed limit and drive safely. If the third driver is speeding, changing lanes without using a turn signal and texting while driving, though, they can easily cause a multi-car crash. Suddenly, despite the fact that most of the drivers were very safe, half of them are on the way to the hospital.
The solution to creating safe roads is for everyone to really come together and focus on safety. If every driver makes it a priority, then we can get accident totals down. Then we can reduce injuries and fatalities.
So, how can you do your part? Here are a few key steps:
- Leave the house earlier. Plan ahead for your day. Avoid rushing off to an appointment at the last minute. Many accidents happen because people know they're going to be late, so they take risks. If you just leave 10 minutes earlier, you won't fall into this trap.
- Commit to avoiding distractions. If you have to turn your cellphone off while you drive, do it. Remember to stay focused on the road at all times. Once you make a habit of it, you can eliminate a lot of pointless dangers.
- Keep emotions in check. If traffic is too slow, don't get frustrated and tailgate. If someone cuts you off, don't get angry and drive aggressively. If you're already feeling emotional, consider not driving at all.
- Obey the speed limit. This is one of the easiest ways to reduce accidents and make injuries less severe. Just slow down. Most people speed almost every time they drive. Get used to going the speed limit. As noted above, if you plan ahead properly, you can still get everywhere on time.
- Don't drive when you're tired. If you feel yourself nodding off, pull over. Don't just tough it out. Don't make it a habit. Remember that fatigued driving is, in many ways, similar to drunk driving.
- Don't get too focused on traffic signals. Don't assume you can go because a light turns green. Don't assume you can drive at 55 miles per hour because that's what the sign says. Instead, pay attention to the traffic and the flow around you. Drive in a way that enables your car to fit safely into that flow.
Of course, you do still face risks. Perhaps you're one of those nine safe drivers. You can still get injured in an accident caused by the tenth. Make sure you know if you have a right to financial compensation for your medical bills and other costs.