If you drive a lot, it is easy to forget how dangerous driving can really be. Ultimately, accidents happen quite often in North America, where driving is more of a necessity than a luxury. In 2017, there were over 40,000 deaths caused by road accidents in the US, so not everyone is driving safe on the road. This is especially true for fleet drivers, with almost 10% of those deaths involving large trucks. The most important thing is to identify the major causes, but how can you protect yourself from these accidents?
Well, here are the top 3 causes of auto accidents and how you can avoid them to stay safe on the road:
1. Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is one of the biggest causes of car accidents. This includes texting, eating, putting your makeup on, or even adjusting your GPS. If it takes your attention away from the road, it is distracting you.
You might think keeping your eyes off the road for 5 seconds isn’t dangerous, but that time is the difference between staying safe on the road. While travelling 55 mph, your vehicle travels the length of an entire football field in those 5 seconds. Next time you think about looking away for a second, keep your eyes on the road instead.
Here are 4 things to consider to ensure you don’t start driving distracted:
- Use your cell phone for emergency situations only; you can reply to a text later.
- Limit the number of passengers and activity level in your vehicle.
- Don’t keep food in the car to prevent snacking while driving.
- Multi-tasking is for when you’re out of the car, not while driving.
If you’re a fleet manager and would like to prevent distracted driving by your employees, consider an in-vehicle camera system to monitor drivers. A lot of fleet managers are using different systems available on the market that allow for advanced analytics. Some ZenduIT clients use video AI to monitor and highlight suspected driving incidents that you can then view yourself.
Most of us have driven over the speed limit at times; it’s a common bad habit amongst drivers. We can try to rationalize speeding by saying we’re in a rush, but ultimately, you’re not saving as much time as you think.
On average, speeding 10 mph over the limit on trips under 50 miles don’t save more than 7 minutes. Most of the time you’ll actually save less than that time due to traffic and stop lights. In 2012, speeding contributed to 30% of fatal accidents, so are those few minutes saved worth it? Cutting down on speeding will help you avoid a ticket while also staying safe on the road.
Loaded tractor-trailers usually travel up to 40% more distance than cars when stopping. So, if fleet drivers are speeding excessively and need to come to a sudden stop, there is an even bigger risk of an accident. Ultimately, fleet drivers must make a concerted effort to prevent unsafe habits.
Here is the 1 thing you can do to avoid this habit:
- Slow down! Remind yourself that speeding doesn’t save much time and your life is worth more than a few minutes.
3. Impaired Driving
The US has an average of 30 drunk driving-related deaths daily. If you think you’re good enough to drive after drinking or consuming any other drugs, chances are you’re not. Marijuana and alcohol lower your inhibitions and awareness, significantly increasing the difficulty of driving. Driving under the influence is a surefire way to prevent staying safe on the road. Vehicles move at fast speeds and an accident can happen in an instant. If your reaction time is lowered in any way, don’t drive. If you know you will be under the influence of any drugs, don’t drive.
Here are 3 things to do to make sure you don’t drive under the influence:
- Always assign a designated driver if you intend to take a personal vehicle. Planning to have a designated driver will keep you safe, while also preventing risk to other drivers.
- If you don’t have a designated driver, call a taxi, Uber, or Lyft. Uber and Lyft make it easier than ever to get home safe. From the comfort of your phone, you can easily call for a ride.
- Hide the car keys if you know there is a possibility of a friend driving under the influence. You will all be thankful in the morning when you see everyone safe.