The prevalence of bad driving habits is a significant challenge on Ohio's roadways. Many drivers become comfortable with texting and driving, driving impaired, speeding, and disregarding traffic laws—all of which can result in serious car accidents. But it's possible to become a safer driver by not falling into these habits. Even if you do, you can break them by educating yourself and practicing awareness.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety's 2022 Traffic Safety Culture Index survey found a troubling trend of risky driving behaviors among more than half of the participants. Here's what the survey revealed:
- About 41.2% of participants rarely engaged in any risky driving behaviors.
- 15% of participants engaged in distracted driving.
- 22.7% frequently exceeded speed limits.
- 17.3% engaged in distracted and aggressive driving combined.
- 1.3% drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
- 2.4% engaged in all forms of risky driving.
Why it's important to become a safer driver
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the behaviors identified in the AAA survey often lead to serious and fatal crashes. That includes:
- Distracted driving - 3,522 traffic fatalities.
- Drunk driving - 13,383 road deaths.
- Speeding - 12,330 deaths.
- Drowsy driving - 684 traffic fatalities.
According to Arnie Kinsler, a dedicated AAA driving instructor in Danbury, Connecticut, it's best not to develop bad driving habits in the first place. Kinsler has observed an uptick in poor 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."
Even seasoned drivers can develop poor driving behaviors, many times without realizing it. Kinsler urges these drivers to sign up for AAA's Defensive Driving Course to refresh their skills behind the wheel.
Additionally, AAA driving instructor and former police officer Gary Driscoll explains why following traffic regulations is important to become a safer driver. "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.
Tips on how to become a safer driver
If you find yourself falling into any of these bad driving habits, it's important to break them. Below, you'll find tips on how:
- Avoid distractions: Cellphones are one of the biggest distractions for drivers. To avoid using yours, consider putting it on "do not disturb" mode and put it somewhere out of reach. If you need to use your cellphone for any reason, find a safe place to pull over and put your car in park.
- Only drive while sober: Drunk driving accidents are completely avoidable. Just designate a sober driver, summon a rideshare, or call a taxi. If none of those are options, consider spending the night at your friend or family member's house or walking to and from your destination. Find a designated driver, use a rideshare or taxi, or consider spending the night at a relative or friend's house.
- Stay awake: Drowsy driving can impair your judgment and memory. That's why it's important to get plenty of rest before hitting the road. Also, take a break every 100 miles or two hours if you're on a long trip. If you feel yourself getting drowsy, pull over and take a nap or let a passenger take over driving.
- Slow down: Excessive speeding reduces your time and distance to avoid a crash. You can avoid this by allowing yourself plenty of time to reach your destination. Also, drive at a speed that is safe and prudent, especially during the winter.
- Avoid aggressive driving: Never engage in aggressive driving, even if another driver is doing it. Stay calm, and don't make contact with a driver who engages in road rage. If a driver follows you, call the police as soon as possible. You can also drive to the closest police station.
Get legal help if you're injured in a crash in Northeast Ohio
Becoming a safer driver will increase your safety and the safety of other road users. But unfortunately, there are still many drivers who engage in risky behavior. The Cleveland car accident lawyers at Merriman Legal, LLC see the devastation risky driving causes. We're committed to justice and fair compensation for injured motorists and their families throughout Ohio.
If you or a loved one sustained injuries in a crash, demand justice. Contact us online or call us for a free consultation. We'll provide honest answers to your questions and give you a clear understanding of your potential legal options. Don't wait—contact us today. Make my team your team.