This is the last week in June which means that National Safety Month is coming to a close. For this last week, the National Safety Council choose “Driving Safety” to be the last theme. With summer now in full bloom, and the roads filling with commuters and travelers, this is a fitting topic.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau there were approximately 10.8 million accidents in 2009!
The National Safety Council estimates that nearly 25% of car accidents are caused by the use of cell phones. NSC recommends that in order to reduce cell phone related accidents, you should:
- Refrain from using your cell phone
- Put your cell phone on silent or in the glove box to avoid temptation
- Safely pull over and put the vehicle in park to take or make a phone call
- Change your voicemail message to say you are unavailable when driving
Many people have begun to use hand-free devices in the car to help them from becoming distracted in the car; however, NSC claims that even though your hands are still free to drive, talking on the cell phone also cognitively distracts you. This means that even though you have a hands-free device, you are still putting yourself and others in danger, so drivers should be aware of the dangers of ALL cell phone use.
Another step that driver’s can take to ensure safe driving is wearing their seat belt as well as making sure that all passengers are wearing theirs. Drivers and front seat passengers who buckle up are 45% more likely to survive motor vehicle crashes and 50% more likely to avoid serious injuries.
In 2009, 32% of fatalities in motor vehicle crashes involved a driver under the influence of alcohol. If you are impaired in any way – because of alcohol or drugs – the NSC pleads for you to find another mode of transportation.
And last but not least, the National Safety Council wishes to educate the public about the dangers of aggressive driving. In order to ensure that you do not become an aggressive driver, follow these tips:
- Keep your emotions in check and don’t take frustrations out on other drivers
- Plan ahead and allow enough time for delays
- Focus on your own driving
- Don’t tailgate or flash your lights at another driver
- Use your horn sparingly
Take these steps in order to be a safe driver. Making the roads a safer place will not happen if we rely on others to follow the rules – we all must follow the rules and pay attention to others while driving.
Shannon Cook, AWP Intern