For multiple years, improved safety features in vehicles and informed public policy helped drive down the rate of major motor vehicle collisions. The number of crashes that occurred each year and the number of people who died in traffic decreased slowly, creating a promising trend of improved road safety.
Unfortunately, the trend reversed several years ago, with crash rates and traffic fatalities both increasing. For several years now, crash rates and fatalities have risen. Drivers now have to worry more than they did just a few years ago about the possibility of a collision on their way to work or to the movie theater with friends.
What can people do to minimize their personal risk of a severe collision despite rising traffic crash rates overall?
1. Avoid obviously risky actions
Experts looking at the increase in crashes in the last few years have noticed a major trend. Specifically, a large number of the worst collisions in recent years have involved people doing things that are obviously unsafe at the wheel. In other words, the causes of these crashes are bad choices people already know they should not make.
The number of drivers getting behind the wheel after drinking or using drugs has seemingly increased. There are also a high number of crashes directly related to excessive speed. Distracted driving has also proven to be a significant and lasting safety concern. Drivers can help protect themselves by following traffic laws and avoiding known dangerous behaviors.
2. Learn about defensive driving
Young adults sometimes learn defensive driving skills when initially getting their license. Others only know the basic concept and don’t worry much about risks until it is too late. Defense driving is a philosophy that demands someone treat everyone else in traffic like a source of collision risk.
Defensive driving involves learning how to better monitor surroundings and to adjust driving behaviors to reduce the risk caused by others. Drivers who learn about defensive driving or refresh themselves on what the process entails will have an easier time properly responding to the bad driving habits of others and potentially protecting themselves from a life-altering crash.
Refreshing driving skills and tracking collision statistics can help people reduce their personal risk of a major car wreck. In the event of a wreck, seeking legal guidance is generally the best course of action.