The United States had 6.3 million fatal, injury-causing, and property-damaging accidents in 2015. It goes without saying that caring for your family and keeping them safe should be a priority when you’re on the road. This includes taking all necessary precautions to ensure that your vehicle is fit for travel and you are able to give your full attention to driving.
To help you do this, here are seven ways you can ensure you are doing all you can to remain safe on the road:
Wear a Seatbelt
Although different states have different laws on wearing seat belts, it is advisable to always buckle up before going anywhere. More than half of teens and adults who died in road accidents in 2015 were unrestrained at the time of the crash. Younger passengers should have appropriate child restraints to ensure their safety.
As the parent and driver, it is your responsibility to ensure that all passengers in your vehicle are safely buckled in before you start your journey. Driving without properly buckling up puts yourself, your passengers, and others on the road at risk of an auto accident injury or worse.
Get A Grip
Driving with bald or poor tires is dangerous, especially in winter or poor road conditions. Good tires are always important and they should be regularly checked to ensure the right air pressure and tread depth are kept.
Quality tires will ensure the safety of you and your family when driving – they’re one of the only things between you and the road. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has some great tips for choosing the right tires for your vehicle and keeping them in good repair to extend their life.
Regular maintenance and repairs are necessary to keep your vehicle safe on the road. Regular services to your car will not only keep it in good condition and safe for driving, it will also reduce fuel inefficiency and the risk of breaking down.
The cost of servicing your car will vary depending on its age and make, but is a worthy investment for keeping you and your family safe. Putting aside a little money each month for repairs can help to mitigate the cost of regular checks and car servicing.
It’s all too easy to become distracted while driving, and this error claimed 3,477 lives in 2015. While it’s impossible to remove all distractions when driving, you certainly can reduce them.
Be certain that you turn your cell phone off or put it away before you start your car. Also make sure to keep the radio or music at a reasonable level so you can hear the traffic around you and let your children know you need to concentrate on the road when driving. In-car entertainment systems can help keep children entertained on long journeys, but other techniques also work just as well.
Don’t Drive Drowsy
Drowsy driving was responsible for 800 deaths in 2013, and one study found sleep deprivation can have worse effects on your ability to drive safely than a BAC of 0.05. Being tired reduces your reaction times and can lead to risky decisions on the road.
If you are too tired to drive, postpone your trip, have someone else drive, or arrange for someone to pick you up. Anything that stops you from getting behind the wheel. Coffee and fresh air may help a little, but nothing can replace the benefits of a good night’s sleep.
In addition to not driving drowsy, you should also be aware of any medical conditions or related health concerns that may impact your ability to drive and be safe on the road. If you do get into a sticky situation and have your license suspended or taken away then it’s best to discuss your immediate threat revocation circumstances with a lawyer who can help you sort through it all. You’ll need the right documents and support from medical staff and providers to ensure you can get back on the roads safely and in a timely fashion. While this type of situation is unfortunate and frustrating, it’s not one you should try to resolve on your own.
Help Teach Your Children To Drive
Teach your children the road rules and talk about how to stay safe when driving. When they are old enough, take them to driver’s education classes and drive with them in all conditions to help them gain experience.
During their first six months of solo driving, newly licensed drivers are about eight times more likely to be involved in fatal crashes than more experienced drivers. By helping them gain experience on the roads, they’ll be more capable of coping with difficult conditions. This will help you stay calmer when they start driving on their own.
Driving responsibly means remaining alert to all dangers on the road and always putting safety first. Defensive driving means never making assumptions about other vehicles on the road and remembering to:
- plan ahead for the unexpected
- control your speed
- be prepared to react to other drivers
- not assume other drivers will do what you anticipate
- respect all others on the road
- be aware of driving and weather conditions and adjust accordingly
- be alert and avoid distractions
Keeping safe on the road is the responsibility of all road users. Stay alert, be proactive, and avoid mistakes and accidents by ensuring both you and your vehicle are fit for the journeys you have planned.