Every driver on the road has a duty to others to be a safe driver. That duty applies to your passengers, other drivers on the road and any pedestrians. This involves minimizing distractions and being an attentive driver.
Despite this duty, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health, motor vehicle crashes are the “leading cause of injury deaths and second leading cause of hospitalization and ER visits in Georgia”. Many of the common causes of car crashes involve factors that are in the control of the driver.
1. Distracted driving
Distracted driving involves any activity that takes your attention from the road. This could include adjusting your radio or temperature controls, eating or drinking, talking with friends or even checking your GPS. Giving any attention to your cell phone while driving is a big cause of distracted driving. Calls, texts and checking your social media should wait until you are safely parked. Even a quick look while stopped at a red light can divert your attention away from traffic in the intersection when the light turns green.
2. Impaired driving
Operating a motor vehicle while impaired or influenced by alcohol or any chemical substance greatly impacts your ability to be a safe driver. Your decision-making ability, reaction times and often your ability to see clearly are all reduced. Driving while impaired is a dangerous and selfish choice that causes far too many injuries and fatal crashes.
3. Reckless driving
Road rage, tailgating and other aggressive behaviors while behind the wheel of a car often lead to crashes. However, reckless driving also includes any disregard for traffic laws such as speeding when you are running late, ignoring road signs or not looking out for pedestrians in a crosswalk.
Even the safest driver is still dependent on the safe operation of other cars on the road. Being a defensive driver is to be alert to the actions of other vehicles around you, giving you increased time to react to an unexpected event. You cannot control the actions of other drivers, but you can strive to keep yourself as safe as possible.