Everybody makes resolutions at the beginning of the year, but if your January diet hasn't gone according to plan or you're still smoking cigarettes, perhaps it's time to take up a new resolution with respect to your driving. To keep yourself safe on the roads, make sure you adopt the following habits for the rest of the year:
Be More Vigilant with Driver Distractions
In today's busy society, drivers have more distractions than ever at their fingertips. But whilst many drivers believe that they can navigate the road safely regardless of these distractions, the statistics beg to differ. It is estimated that more than nine people are killed each day due to distracted drivers, with more than 1,153 injured in similar accidents.
There is no doubt that these worrying statistics need to change, but the only way to change them is to make a conscious effort to remain vigilant on the roads. Most people will know that cell phones should not be used on the roads, but there are also a few other things to watch out for:
Car Stereos – It's not just changing the radio station that can be a problem, but also what sort of music your stereo is playing. Studies have shown that aggressive, fast-paced music can lead to a loss of concentration whilst driving, which can result in fatal accidents.
Slowing Down to Look at an Accident – Sometimes, your curiosity may get the better of you when driving past an accident and you may slow down for a better view of what's going on. However, this can significantly increase the risk of a collision as the driver behind you won't know what's happening up ahead and won't slow down accordingly.
Smoking – Smoking may not seem as bad as texting or calling, but you will usually need to use both hands to take a cigarette from the packet and light it up. Even if you can do it quickly or with one hand, the amount of fumbling required can be extremely distracting and can cause a major lapse in concentration on the roads.
Pay Your Doctor a Visit
Many people refuse to visit a doctor until symptoms arise and as such are unaware of "hidden" medical conditions that can compromise their safety and the safety of other drivers whilst on the road. These medical conditions include things like high blood pressure, sleep apnea and other conditions that may not show themselves immediately, but can be particularly dangerous when the symptoms do arise. Therefore, it's important to visit your doctor at least once a year for a general checkup to ensure you are fit for navigating the roads.
The importance of regular health checkups increases as you get older. If you are over 65 years old and are still on the road, you should speak with your doctor as soon as possible in order to undergo a full examination. A recent study has shown that drivers over 65 years of age were responsible for around 14 million traffic incidents per year. The same study also highlighted how doctors can remove themselves from the decision making process regarding elderly patients and driving, so it's important to bring this topic up with your practitioner and ask them directly for their medical opinion.
Get a Good Night's Rest
Most people intuitively understand that driving whilst sleep deprived is dangerous. However, many people don't understand exactly how dangerous this can be. It is estimated that around 6,400 fatal crashes occur each year due to drowsy drivers. Whilst the definition of "sleep deprived" is fairly ambiguous, there are some warning signs you should look out for whilst driving:
Excessive yawning or blinking.
Inadvertently drifting from your lane.
Drifting towards the sidewalk when driving in a busy area.
Forgetting your route and misinterpreting traffic signs.
Sleep is just as important as food and water when it comes to maintaining a healthy body and a focused mind. You should always try to get ample sleep each night to ensure you are safe on the roads; however, if you feel tired at any point, make sure you pull over and take a rest. It may add some time on to your journey, but it might just save your life.
If you have been in an accident due to your own or someone else's poor driving habits, a law firm such as The Jaklitsch Law Group can help you through the legal battle that may follow.