In today's fast-paced world, bad driving habits are becoming increasingly common. People who are in a hurry often multitask behind the wheel, ignore traffic signals, or drive at excessive speeds. Some even think they can get away with driving under the influence of alcohol. But becoming complacent and falling into these habits is dangerous. It only takes one wrong maneuver or misjudgment for a serious car accident to occur.
According to a recently released study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, only 41.2% of participants reported having safe driving habits. That means that nearly 60% of respondents engage in risky driving behaviors. The report is based on the 2022 survey results from AAA's yearly Traffic Safety Culture Index, which categorizes participants on the types of driving behaviors they admit to. Here's what the survey found:
- 15% engage in a variety of distractions behind the wheel.
- 22.7% frequently exceed the posted speed limit.
- 17.3% often engage in both distracted and aggressive driving.
- 1.3% admitted to driving impaired.
- 2.4% have engaged in all of the above-mentioned driving behaviors.
Kick bad driving habits to the curb
The key to safe driving is not falling into bad driving habits in the first place, according to AAA driving school instructor Arnie Kinsler. In recent years, Kinsler has seen an uptick in risky driving behaviors. "People act as though speed limits and stop signs are suggestions," he said. "I've seen people eating full meals while driving 65 miles per hour."
Kinsler emphasizes to his young students, mostly aged 16-22, the importance of obeying traffic rules like speed limits and stop signs, even when dealing with impatient drivers. For those who have experience driving, he suggests refreshing their skills by completing AAA's Defensive Driving Course.
Gary Driscoll, another AAA instructor and ex-cop, stresses the importance of understanding why rules matter and maintaining situational awareness. "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.
To become a safer driver, consider breaking the bad driving habits outlined below.
From texting to vlogging while driving, these distractions significantly increase the risk of being involved in a crash. In fact, distracted driving caused over 3,500 deaths on U.S. roads in 2021. If you feel inclined to use your cellphone while driving, try putting it in "do not disturb" mode. Then, place it somewhere out of reach until you arrive at your destination. If you absolutely must use your cellphone, pull over somewhere safe and put your car in park.
Driving while intoxicated (or even buzzed) is a recipe for disaster. In 2021, drunk driving led to over 13,000 fatalities on U.S. roadways. To avoid impaired driving, you have plenty of options. Call a cab or use a rideshare service. If you have a sober friend or family member, ask them to be your designated driver. You can also walk to and from your destination if you're nearby. Also, consider asking a friend or family member if you can stay at their house until you're sober enough to drive.
Driving while drowsy can be just as bad as impaired driving. You may lose some of your focus, memory, and ability to judge what is happening around you. In 2021, around 684 people across the U.S. died in crashes caused by drowsy driving. It's best to get plenty of sleep to avoid a drowsy driving crash. Additionally, AAA urges drivers to take rest breaks every two hours or 100 miles when on long trips.
Speeding and aggressive driving
The faster you go, the worse a car accident can be. Speeding caused about 12,330 deaths on U.S. roads in 2021. This can be avoided by allowing extra time to reach your destination. You should also be prepared for delays caused by inclement weather or construction and drive at a safe and reasonable speed for the conditions.
While it's common to get annoyed while driving, don't let it get to you. Stay calm, and continue to follow all road rules. Should you encounter an aggressive driver, don't make eye contact with them or engage them in any way. If someone's tailing you aggressively, head to the nearest police station and call law enforcement immediately.
Injured in a crash? Get an Alabama car accident lawyer on your side
Building good driving habits is key to your safety and the safety of others. But what happens when you encounter a driver who chooses to engage in risky driving behavior? A crash caused by someone else's negligence can leave you with a long and costly recovery. If you think the insurance companies will compensate you to the fullest extent, think again.
That's where the legal team at Dean Waite & Associates, LLC can help. Our attorneys have a proven track record of helping injured motorists and their families throughout Alabama fight for the maximum compensation they deserve. We won't let the insurance companies dictate the outcome of your car accident case. To learn more about how we can help, contact us online or call our Mobile law office for a free consultation. Don't hesitate...call Dean Waite!