After months of staying at home, many are hitting the road again. Whether you’re just driving around town or planning a summer road trip, safe driving practices can help keep you and your family safe.
A new study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety finds drivers who have been in at least one crash during the past two years are significantly more likely to engage in risky behaviors, like speeding or texting, even when they think the police may catch them. If you fall into this category, AAA urges you to ditch the dangerous driving habits and focus on safety this summer.
“The frequency of drivers in the United States engaging in improper behavior is too high. While drivers acknowledge that certain activities behind the wheel–like texting–are dangerous, some do them anyway,” said Dr. David Yang, Executive Director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “We need to be aware of the serious consequences of engaging in these types of dangerous driving behavior and change course.”
The Foundation’s annual Traffic Safety Culture Index (TSCI), which highlights the gap between drivers’ attitudes and their reported behaviors, found that drivers know distracted, aggressive and impaired driving is dangerous, but many say they have engaged in at least one of these behaviors in the past 30 days.
In addition, the data shows drivers are not altering their behavior when it resulted in a crash. This puts them and everyone else on the road at risk.
To keep yourself and your family safe on the road, AAA recommends these safety tips:
- Out of sight, out of mind. Stow your smartphone away, turn it to airplane mode, or activate call/text blocking features like Apple’s Do Not Disturb.
- Slow down. Drivers tend to overestimate time saved by speeding. You’d have to travel 100 miles to save roughly 5 minutes, moving at 75 mph instead of 70 mph. Speed kills and isn’t worth the cost.
- Stay alert. Stop driving if you become sleepy because you could fall asleep at any time. Fatigue impacts reaction time, judgment, and vision, causing people who are very tired to behave in similar ways to those who are drunk.
- Only drive sober. If you consume marijuana, alcohol, or use potentially impairing prescription medications, then don’t drive. And if you’re going to drive, then don’t consume these substances.
- And always wear your seat belt. Everyone in the vehicle should be buckled-up, including back seat passengers. Children should be secured in properly installed car or booster seats.
For additional information on AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s Traffic Safety Culture Index and other research, visit AAAFoundation.org.