In our modern society, we drive our safe cars down even safer roads on a daily basis. Decades of scare campaigns, click it or ticket ads, and general public flogging have succeeded in making most people into safer drivers. The outcome of this is that the United States recorded its lowest ever car accident fatality rate in 2008. In spite of all this forward momentum, the amount of car accidents and subsequent deaths across the country is still pretty monstrous. In 2008, there were nearly six million automobile accidents in the United States, which brought about more than 37,000 deaths. Beyond that, car accidents are the preeminent cause of death for anyone between three and 34 years old in America.
Advances in technology will prevail and they will continue to assist in pushing these numbers even lower, but the reality of the situation is that the majority of car accidents are the result of basic human error. The smartest way to decrease your chances of being involved in a car accident is to learn and practice safe habits for when you are behind the wheel. Whether you’re getting ready to take the car out for the first time by yourself or you’ve been behind the wheel of a dozen different cars over a span of a dozen years, it’s a great idea to go over a few fundamental rules for driving safely.
Don’t Drink and Drive
There is no good reason that anyone should have to be told this. You know better. Everyone knows better. Yet here we are… An estimated 30% of all car accident-related deaths that occur in the United States are caused by motorists whose faculties are impaired from the consumption of alcohol. Drunk driving accidents resulted in 11,773 deaths just in 2008. The majority of those fatalities could have been prevented had the drivers who were responsible for those deaths chosen instead to be responsible for not getting behind the wheel after they had been drinking.
Alcohol slows your central nervous system and can induce a number of physical and mental afflictions that could potentially lead to car accidents. Even with blood-alcohol levels on the lower end of the spectrum, being drunk decreases your response time impairs your coordination and lowers your inhibitions, which could prompt drivers to make unwise decisions that they would otherwise not have made. In greater amounts, alcohol can onset double or blurred vision and even the loss of consciousness. Drunk driving isn’t simply a bad idea, it’s against the law. Here in the United States, getting pulled over while you are behind the wheel with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08% or more will most likely land you in jail with a charge of driving under the influence permanently etched on your record.
It is so simple to steer clear of driving drunk. If you have been consuming alcohol, then ask a designated driver for a ride or make sure that your Uber app is up-to-date and ready to go before you leave your house. If you are intent on drinking, then please ensure that you have a designated driver with you. The tiny little nuisance of taking an Uber home or even a taxi cab is trivial when you compare it to the devastating and life-altering possibilities of drunk driving.
Speed kills! Just like those commercials from the mid-1990s warned you about. Studies have determined that for each mile per hour that you drive, the probability of your being involved in a car accident goes up by roughly five percent. As your speed increases, the amount of risk that you incur grows exponentially higher.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has outlined the lethal consequences of speeding very plainly. “Speeding is one of the most prevalent factors contributing to traffic crashes. The economic cost to society of speeding-related crashes is estimated by NHTSA to be $40.4 billion per year. In 2008, speeding was a contributing factor in 31 percent of all fatal crashes, and 11,674 lives were lost in speeding-related crashes”
But you’re in a huge hurry, right? Well, consider your ordinary drive across town, speeding by even 10 mph over the speed limit is only going to shave a couple of minutes off of your total drive time, and at the same time, it is going to increase your odds of being in a crash by as much as 50%. Even if you take long trips into consideration, the time that you will save is insignificant when you contrast it with the dangers that are connected to speeding. Take a breath, take your time and always be mindful of the legal posted speed limits. If you absolutely must get there as quickly as possible, there is still one way to accomplish this that almost no one seems to know about. Leave earlier.
A lot of states throughout America have enacted laws that ban or greatly restrict the use of cell phones while you are behind the wheel of a car. The ultimate goal behind these “hands-free” driving laws is the staggering amount of car accident-related fatalities that are directly related to drivers engaging in this seemingly innocuous behavior. There are roughly 2,600 fatalities in America every single year that are the result of cell phone use while driving. Reportedly, that statistic might even be too low, because of the steady increase in the use of cell phones while people are driving.
If you don’t feel that talking and texting while operating a vehicle is a huge problem, then think about this: A university researcher studied the response time of a 20-year-old driver who was talking on his phone while driving and compared it to that of a 70-year-old driver who was fully focused on the road. The study revealed that the 20-year-old driver’s reaction times had slowed down to match that of the senior citizen. On top of that, attempting to use a phone while you are driving could slow down your response times by 20 percent or more.
If you or someone that you love has been injured in a traffic accident, the smartest move you can make is to reach out to our shrewd and effective Utah car accident attorneys. The personal injury attorneys here at Siegfried & Jensen have over thirty years worth of experience in helping accident victims recover from life-changing auto accidents and making sure that they receive the maximum amount of financial compensation for the losses they have sustained. Our clients are our family and our primary focus is always on what is best for you. If you would be interested in a free consultation with one of our personal injury attorneys concerning your case, then please reach out to us by calling 801-845-9000 today.
Content checked by personal injury attorney Todd Bradford. I worked for a small law firm in Utah County, where I handled various types of cases. My main focus was personal injury and I decided that is what I enjoyed doing the most. I rejoined Siegfried and Jensen in 2012 where my focus is solely on helping personal injury clients. I take pride in helping personal injury clients and enjoy serving them. If you need an attorney for auto accidents or injuries of any kind in Salt Lake City, UT, Ogden, UT, Spokane, WA, or Boise, ID, contact us.