In the United States, most of us use the road to get around. More than 90 percent of American households have at least one car, and those cars take us everywhere: to and from work, to and from school, out on vacation (the American road trip is very much alive and well), and all over our towns, cities, states, country, and beyond.
Unfortunately, this means that our roads see a lot of traffic, a lot of pollution, and — worst of all — a lot of accidents that harm and kill American drivers. More than 6 million accidents occur in the United States every year. We would each be wise to take care on the road to protect ourselves, our passengers, and other drivers.
Drive as your best self
We all know that driving drunk is a terrible idea. Drunken drivers are involved in a disproportionate number of accidents, and those accidents form a deadly epidemic that kills 29 people a day. Don’t mix drinking and partying! Next time you want to drink with friends, consider doing so at home, rather than at a bar, say the owners at Joe Canal’s liquor store in Woodbridge, NJ.
But drunken driving isn’t all that you should worry about. Any impairment can be risky. You should never drive under the influence of drugs, of course, including many prescription medications (check with your doctor or pharmacist if you’re unsure). And if you’re drowsy, you may be driving just as poorly as if you were drunk. If you’re tired, don’t get behind the wheel
Distracted driving is responsible for a stunning number of accidents in our country. Texting and driving has, quite rightly, been vilified in our society — but what about eating and driving? Studies suggest that, too, is very dangerous.
In short, when you’re driving, give the road your full attention. Be wide awake, sober, and pull over if you want to eat something or fiddle with the radio. When you’re driving, just drive.
Bone up on your driving skills
You can’t control what other drivers do on the road, but you can control how you respond to those things. Defensive driving is one of the best things that you can do to stay safe on the road. By driving at responsible speeds, always being able to stop quickly, and using your careful driving and common sense to respond to other drivers’ dangerous decisions on the road in the best way possible, you can dramatically cut down on your risk of being involved in an accident.
We aren’t all great defensive drivers. That’s because defensive driving is a skill that must be taught. It’s well worth honing your defensive driving skills by taking a course. You can find online and in-person courses to help you become a better driver. Take advantage of those opportunities — your car insurance could go down, too.
Be ready for the worst
No matter how many steps you take to improve your safety on the road, you still possibly will end up in a dangerous situation on the road. Make sure that you know how to handle that kind of situation, and be prepared
Keep safety equipment such as road flares and reflectors in your vehicle. Know how to change a tire, and know what to do in case of an accident. Be familiar with the steps you’ll need to take to document an accident for insurance and legal purposes, the experts at a personal injury law firm recommend. When dangers on the road result in injuries to innocent parties, the negligent party can be held accountable in a court of law. You should know when it’s right to call motor vehicle accident lawyers, what those attorneys will need to help you, and how to talk to them.
With luck, you’ll never need to know these things. But being prepared is best, so take any steps you can to protect yourself and others on the road.