Avoid Driving Dangerously
Driving can be dangerous, no matter how skilled you are behind the wheel. Even if you are a highly-experienced or professional driver, mistakes can have deadly consequences. Here are 5 dangerous driving habits which have played a role in many of the personal injury cases we’ve handled for our clients during the last several decades. We hope to help you stay safe by avoiding these dangerous driving mistakes. We also share 5 simple choices you can make to keep you safer on the road.
1. Driving While Drunk or Impaired
Driving while drunk or impaired, also known as driving under the influence, accounts for 29 traffic fatalities each day. This is one death every 50 minutes. Even though there are numerous safeguards in place to help motorists avoid this action - BAC restrictions, ride-share services, and more - this remains a persistent problem. Currently, in 49 states and Washington D.C., the legal limit for driving after consuming alcohol is 0.08. If those billboards and commercials haven’t told you enough - drive sober or get pulled over.
Speeding is one of the deadliest actions you can take behind the wheel - estimated to be a contributing factor in 25-35% of all traffic fatalities. In 2018 alone, 9,378 people died in accidents involving speeding. Speeding drivers are far more likely to lose control of their vehicles.
3. Distracted/Texting While Driving
Texting while driving, one of the main contributors to accidents in the United States, accounts for over 1.6 million accidents each year -- about 28% of all crashes. To combat this, states began implementing hands-free laws years ago to reduce distracted driving. Virginia, Maryland, and Washington D.C. all have complete bans on using electronic handheld devices while driving. Virginia’s law went into effect on July 1, 2020.
4. Not Wearing a Seatbelt
There’s a common misconception that drivers and passengers are safer in an accident if not wearing a seatbelt, because they can get out of the car (or be ejected) more easily. Statistics and the law show otherwise. Approximately 50% of fatalities in crashes involved the driver or passenger not wearing a seatbelt. While each state has its own laws, D.C., Maryland and Virginia require that all drivers and front passengers wear a seatbelt. D.C. and Maryland require that rear passengers buckle up. Virginia requires that rear passengers under 16 be belted.
5. Aggressive Driving
According to the Insurance Information Institute, aggressive driving was a contributor in at least 56% of the fatal accidents that occurred in 2017 - making it one of the leading factors in fatal crashes annually. Aggressive driving can include anything from improper, abrupt, or erratic lane changing, honking the horn in excess, failure to signal, and speeding.
Safety Tips for Motorists
In addition to knowing the “don’ts” of driving, drivers should also remember to do these 5 safety tips when operating a motor vehicle:
- Use your turn signal and check all blind spots when merging on/off the highway or changing lanes.
- Stay at least three seconds behind the car in front of you and avoid tailgating.
- Adjust your mirrors and seats each time you enter the vehicle, particularly if there is another driver who uses your vehicle.
- Use your “running” lights during the day, but full lights at night. Easier: keep your lights on the “auto” setting.
- Slow down if you see a yellow light, don’t speed up.
Following these and other defensive driving tips can help you be smarter - and safer - driver.
Car Accident? We Can Help
Weiner, Spivey & Miller, PLC is a Virginia-based personal injury law firm providing assistance throughout the Washington D.C. Metro area. If you or a loved one has been a victim of another’s negligence on the road, do not hesitate to contact us to schedule a consultation. Call (703) 215-9982 or fill out the contact form on our website.