For many people it is hard to believe that most road accidents and injuries would have been avoided if the drivers followed simple rules they have to learn in order to pass driving test. Insurance companies and emergency rooms would breathe in relief if motorists were not so self-confident.
Insurance industry spokeswoman Heather Ryndak does not ask drivers to do something special, but to buckle up, drive defensively, obey the rules of the road and be courteous behind the wheel. Besides these things, her main concern is about driving distractions which cause accidents 4,300 times on American roads daily.
While being a passenger one should look at the drivers of other cars passing: a few of them actually pay big attention to the road, the others are so confident in their skills than watch the road from time to time. Realizing how poorly they watch the road, they might become more careful and attentive while being drivers themselves.
Main reasons for distraction are:
• Dialing numbers and talking on phone.
• Changing radio stations, tapes or CDs.
• Eating or drinking.
• Picking things from floor mats.
• Putting on make-up or looking in a mirror.
• Looking at a map or reading.
All of these things require pulling over to a safe place. It is better to have a five-minute stop than a crash for being inattentive. Driving should not be taken for granted and combined with other activities.
Although the above mentioned are common points of distraction, the major one that causes one-third of all the road accidents is alcohol drinking. It is strictly regulated by rules and any policeman can check the concentration of alcohol in blood, people still prefer not to listen and feel more confident about themselves being drunk and driving than they really are. The statistics says with Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.10% the driver is seven times more likely to cause a crash than if he or she was sober. When BAC increases to 0.15% the chances to provoke an accident increase to 25 times, if it goes up to 0.17%, the driver is 50 times more likely to get into a collision.
Aggressive driving is another reason for crashes. How often do people swear, yell and show offensive gestures to the drivers that cut them off or act wrong on the road? It is better to call the police than to make the other driver angry. Many trucks and company vehicles nowadays have a sign on the back asking, “How am I driving?” with a phone number underneath. If one is unsatisfied with the driver, it is always good to call and report about it instead of screaming at the driver.
The aggressiveness of many drivers is caused by their impatience: they are in a hurry to get somewhere, but there is another auto on their way. In order to avoid a situation like this it is better to leave earlier and not be in a rush. Jumping the red light, not sharing the road with others, cutting others off and turning in wrong places often leads to accidents.
Keeping the right distance is always safe. It is recommended to have at least one car length for every 10 mph one is driving. When vision is limited or poor driving conditions occur the distance should be even bigger. The rear car is usually the one to blame when it comes to a collision, but keeping the right distance will help preventing the crash.
All these fact lead to the conclusion that most of the accidents can be prevented if drivers follow these rules:
1. Eliminate distractions such as talking on phone, reading or eating while driving.
2. Avoid drinking alcohol before or while driving.
3. Do not provoke aggressive drivers who are already in bad mood.
4. Do not drive aggressively.
5. Keep a safe distance.
6. Follow the rules of the road.