Dangerous driving habits are a leading cause of personal injury accidents and deaths in the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that more than 32,000 people are killed and over two million are injured every year in car and motorcycle accidents.
Primarily, there are three unsafe driving habits that contribute to the most instances of death and personal injury in motor vehicle accidents:
- Driving While Distracted
- Driving Without a Helmet
- Driving Under the Influence
Stay safe on the road by reading the following facts and helpful tips.
Driving While Distracted
The law says anything that takes attention away from the road is considered a distracted driving habit and can easily lead to an accident and personal injury. Distracted driving habits commonly include texting, eating, or talking on the phone. It’s estimated that 660,000 drivers use electronic devices while driving during the day.
In 2015, distracted drivers in the U.S. were responsible for crashes that resulted in 391,000 personal injuries and 3,477 deaths.
Tips for Focusing on the Road
Put your cell phone away – Out of sight, out of mind. If you keep your phone in a purse on the passenger side floor or anywhere that it is tucked away from your view, you will be less tempted to reach for it while you are driving.
Keep food out of the car – It can be tempting to finish your breakfast while driving into work, but this makes you less attentive to the road and risks the chance of added distraction if there is a spill.
Avoid multitasking – What may seem like a time-saver while you are driving can be the cause of all your distraction. Make sure everything is taken care of before you get behind the wheel to avoid being negligent of the road.
Driving Under the Influence
One of the most dangerous driving habits is driving while intoxicated on drugs or alcohol. In 2013, one in three car accident deaths in the U.S. were a result of drunk driving.
Alcohol-impaired accidents accounted for 10,265 deaths in 2015, which is one-third of all traffic-related fatalities in the U.S. Every day, 28 people in the U.S. die in accidents caused by alcohol-impaired drivers, equating to one death every 51 minutes.
For motorcyclists killed in accidents in 2015, 27% had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of at least 0.08%.
The Effects of Alcohol on Driving
Drugs and alcohol will affect everyone differently, but the most common side effects based on BAC include:
0.02% BAC (About 2 alcoholic beverages)
- Reduced ability to multitask
- Decline in visual functions
0.08% BAC (About 4 alcoholic beverages)
- Short-term memory loss
- Decreased perception
0.15% BAC (About 7 alcoholic beverages)
- Impairment in vehicle control
- Substantial deficiency in visual and auditory information processing
Driving Without a Motorcycle Helmet
Motorcycle accidents are commonly very serious due to the limited amount of protection riders have from the road. However, wearing a motorcycle helmet can reduce the risk of death by 37% and decreases the chance of a head injury by 69%.
How Wearing a Motorcycle Helmet Helps
Motorcycle helmets saved an estimated 1,772 lives in 2015. The CDC also estimates that 740 more lives could have been saved if all riders wore helmets that year.
How to Find the Right Motorcycle Helmet
There are two types of motorcycle helmets: those approved by the Department of Transportation (DOT) and those that are not approved. It is recommended that motorcyclists and passengers always wear DOT-approved helmets while riding. This is because the DOT sets a standard that establishes the minimum level of protection a helmet must provide. The helmets are put through performance testing that covers impact attenuation, basic energy absorption, and penetration resistance.