Bad driving habits, unfortunately, are a common occurrence on our roads and a leading cause of car accidents. From texting while driving to ignoring traffic signals, these habits are widespread, and everyone is susceptible to them. However, changing these habits is possible through awareness, education, and a commitment to safety.
How common are bad driving habits?
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety's annual Traffic Safety Culture Index in 2022 showed concerning trends regarding risky driving habits. Over half of the 2,499 respondents surveyed admitted to engaging in risky driving behaviors. This included:
- Speeding - 22.7%
- Aggressive and distracted driving - 17.3%
- All types of distracted driving - 15%
- Impaired driving - 1.3%
- All of the above bad driving habits - 2.4%
Addressing complacency behind the wheel
For many drivers, complacency can lead to developing risky driving behaviors. Seasoned driving instructor Arnie Kinsler encourages drivers to remain vigilant and avoid dangerous habits, such as driving distracted, ignoring traffic signs and signals, and speeding up at yellow lights.
Gary Driscoll, another driving instructor with a background in law enforcement, emphasizes situational awareness and the importance of understanding the rationale behind driving regulations. "One of the best ways to instill good driving habits is to explain why a regulation is important, and what can happen if you don't follow it," said Driscoll.
Breaking the habit of distracted driving
Distracted driving is one of the most predominant bad driving habits. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it led to 3,522 fatalities in the U.S. in 2021. This alarming statistic highlights the urgent need to stay attentive behind the wheel.
Distractions such as texting, talking, eating, or even listening to music can significantly impair driving focus. Alarmingly, the trend of filming videos while driving for social media is on the rise, especially among younger drivers.
Barbara Ward, a traffic safety expert, advises putting phones in "do not disturb" mode and keeping them out of reach while driving. If you need to use your cell phone (or engage in any task other than driving), pull over in a parking lot or another safe spot and put your car in park.
Driving sober and alert
No matter how confident some drivers are in their ability to drive impaired or drowsy, it only takes one small mistake to lead to a serious crash. Both drunk or drugged driving and drowsy driving reduce reaction time, coordination, concentration, and the ability to judge potential hazards on the road.
According to the NHTSA, drunk driving led to a staggering 13,384 traffic fatalities across the U.S. in 2021. That same year, 684 people died in crashes caused by drowsy driving. These crashes were all avoidable. Drivers who plan on consuming alcohol should do so responsibly. That includes summoning a taxi or rideshare (e.g., Uber or Lyft) or designating a sober driver. Other options include staying at a friend or relative's house or walking.
Drowsy driving can be prevented by getting adequate rest and avoiding driving after using medications or drugs that induce drowsiness. For long trips, drivers should take breaks every two hours or 100 miles. Additionally, drowsy driving can be prevented by pulling over and taking a nap or having an alert passenger take the wheel.
Avoiding speeding and aggressive driving
About 12,330 people lost their lives in 2021 due to speeding and aggressive driving. The faster the speed, the less time there is to stop or slow down to avoid a crash. Plus, the damage caused in a collision tends to be greater at higher speeds.
To avoid this, drivers should allow ample time to get from point A to point B. Drivers should also be aware of posted speed limits at all times. When dealing with aggressive drivers, it's best to avoid eye contact or engage with them in any way. If you feel in danger, contact law enforcement and get to the nearest police station as soon as possible.
Injured in a Colorado Springs crash? Contact us today
Facing the aftermath of a car accident linked to another driver's bad habits can be frustrating. Beyond needing medical care, you might wonder how you'll pay your medical bills and obtain the compensation you deserve to cover your accident-related expenses. This is where having an experienced car accident lawyer can impact the outcome of your case.
The Longo Firm, LLC in Colorado Springs takes a personalized approach to handling car accident claims. We know how to gather the facts to help you build a viable case and fight for the maximum compensation you deserve. If you or a loved one was hurt in a Colorado Springs crash, contact us online for a free consultation. We'll explain your legal rights and guide you through your potential options.