Every five seconds, a car crash occurs, and many of these accidents happen while employees are on the job, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). In fact, motor vehicle crashes are the No. 1 cause of work-related injuries, according to the National Safety Council (NSC). They are also the leading cause of death and injury across all age groups, OSHA says.
To protect yourself from dangers on the road, check out these five driving safety tips.
1. Avoid distractions.
When you’re distracted while you drive, your risk of having an accident increases dramatically. About 80% of car accidents occur due to some form of distraction, according to the NSC. Distractions can come from a variety of sources, including other passengers, radios or iPods, talking or texting on mobile phones, applying makeup, eating, and more. Though it can be tempting to multi-task, it’s important to focus on driving when you’re behind the wheel because for every mile you drive, you make about 200 decisions, OSHA says. Taking your eye off the road even for a split second increases your risk of an accident, so make sure driving is your one and only concern when you’re behind the wheel.
2. Get more sleep.
You might be asking yourself what sleep has to do with driving. Well, when it comes to safety on the road, it can be everything. Americans are chronically tired, and the effects of fatigue show up in more than just the faces of unrested workers. Drowsy driving accounts for over 100,000 crashes each year and at least 1,550 deaths. So if you find yourself driving to work tired each morning, try an earlier bed time. Turning up the radio or rolling down the window for fresh air won’t effectively combat the threats of drowsy driving.
3. Buckle up.
It may seem like obvious advice, but experts say that using your seatbelt each time you drive – no matter how far or near your destination – is the single best way to reduce the risk of death and serious injury in the car. In fact, the proper use of seatbelts saves 12,000 lives and prevents 325,000 injuries each year, according to OSHA. Plus, it’s the law in most states. So, protect yourself and everyone in your vehicle by making sure all belts are buckled before you start the car.
4. Leave your rage off the road.
Aggressive driving does more than just annoy the people around you. The behaviors associated with road rage, including excessive speeding, tailgating, running stop signs and lights, and more, greatly increase the threat of an accident. Though you may be in a hurry to get where you’re going and other drivers may do things to annoy you or slow you down, you won’t get to your destination any faster if you end up in a wreck. So, keep your road rage in check and enjoy the benefits of less stress and a safer commute. Even if you’re not prone to road rage, in a tense commute, it’s difficult to deal with crazy drivers around you. Instead of letting your frustrations materialize into risky driving behaviors, be a kind driver and avoid conflict with drivers around you.
5. Drive defensively.
No matter how safe a driver you are, many of the risks on the road involve other drivers. Always pay attention to the cars near you as well as to the traffic and road signs so that you can make the best defensive decisions on your drive. Pay careful attention each time you get behind the wheel, even if you’re driving a route so familiar you feel you could navigate it blindfolded. You never know when unexpected changes in the road or threats from other drivers around will appear, so always be on the alert. If a dangerous situation arises, remember that your safety is more important than it is to get where you’re going in record time. Don’t be afraid to slow down, pull off the road or contact the authorities if the need arises.
Being safe on the road is important not just for your own well-being, but for those around you as well. Make sure you’re safe on the road by using these tips.
Do you suffer from road rage or find yourself driving on little sleep often? Are you always talking on the phone while driving or getting annoyed at drivers who text on behind the wheel? Share your driving safety stories with us in the comments section. And don’t forget to vote in our poll to tell us where you stand on the issue of safety.
Want more driving safety tips? Check out these resources.