In July 2023, the United States witnessed over 500,000 motor vehicle crashes. The primary causes of these crashes, injuries, and fatalities can be traced back to a few critical factors for safer driving.

  1. Distracted Driving: This remains a significant cause of accidents. In 2022, it led to over 3,300 fatalities and countless injuries (NHTSA).
  2. Speeding: Speeding is a major contributor to motor vehicle fatalities, accounting for approximately 27% of deaths (CDC).
  3. Impaired Driving: Alcohol-impaired driving is responsible for nearly 30% of motor vehicle crash deaths annually in the U.S. (CDC, National Safety Council).
  4. Failure to Use Seat Belts: A substantial number of fatalities involve unrestrained passengers (CDC).
  5. Fatigue: Fatigue is a significant and often overlooked cause of crashes (CDC).
  6. Inadequate Road Infrastructure: Poor road conditions or designs contribute to higher crash rates in certain areas (CDC, NHTSA).

The majority of these crashes occur at intersections, major highways, and rural roads. So, how can we address these issues and ensure we reach our destinations safely each day?

Combating Distracted Driving

Technology offers us great tools, but when driving, we must limit their use to navigation and other essential functions. Where do you place your phone while driving? Do you use “Do Not Disturb” or “Driving Mode”? Beyond technology, passengers, food and drinks, pets, and other distractions can divert our attention. Commit to avoiding these distractions for your safety and the safety of others. Your primary focus should be on driving from point A to point B safely.

Addressing Speeding

Speeding might offer thrill and excitement or help us compensate for running late, but it’s perilous. If you enjoy speed, consider a race track, car club, or driving dynamics course. Public road speed limits are designed based on traffic, population, visibility, and road type, providing the best chance for safe travel. Stay aware of your speed, heed signs, and remain in control of your vehicle.

Preventing Impaired Driving

Plan ahead when enjoying time with friends and family. Decide who will drive home before indulging. Use driving services, stay at a friend’s house if needed, and always look out for each other. Take keys away from those unfit to drive—they’ll thank you later.

Emphasizing Seat Belt Use

Buckle up, every time. Modern vehicle safety systems are most effective when you’re secured with a seatbelt. Your chances of surviving a crash significantly improve if you’re buckled in. No excuses—please, wear your seatbelt.

Managing Fatigue

Fatigue-related crashes are rising across all age groups. Ensure proper rest and hydration. Recognize the signs of fatigue—yawning, head bobbing, lack of awareness. If needed, pull over somewhere safe, walk around, rehydrate, or take a nap. Know your limits and take necessary breaks.

Navigating Inadequate Road Infrastructure

Construction and road repairs are common. Plan your trips, consider your route, and stay vigilant. If you encounter poor road conditions, focus on where you want to go, not the problem. Your hands will follow your eyes, steering you toward safety.

Planning ahead, focusing on driving, and making conscious decisions can significantly reduce risks. Let’s commit to safer driving practices and ensure we enjoy our journeys safely. We look forward to seeing you down the road!

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