According to the National Safety Council (NSC), injury is the top cause of death for Americans aged 1 to 44 and the top cause of disability across age groups. In 2019 alone, an estimated 173,040 people died from accidental injuries. Disability and death are often preventable, so it’s well worth taking a bit of extra care every day to avoid a life-changing injury.
A part of the NSC’s plan to prevent injury is National Safety Month, observed in June each year. Efforts are being made to reduce the number of injuries and deaths in the workplace, at home, while driving, and in the community at large. As part of National Safety Month, we will bring attention to a critical issue that impacts the lives of many people each year: road safety. Keeping the roads safe starts with these five tips.
Limit Distractions as Much as Possible
It is mostly common knowledge that driving while distracted is dangerous—specifically texting while driving. Even so, some drivers may keep their phones nearby and glance at them when they receive a text or call. This distraction may seem inconsequential, but it significantly increases crash risk.
What is worse is that the more you drive while texting, the more positive reinforcement you receive. If you’ve looked at your phone a few times while driving and you have not had any issues, you may have convinced yourself that it is safe. Unfortunately, car accidents often happen in the blink of an eye, and taking your eyes off the road for even a few seconds can be fatal.
Consider turning your phone off or putting it on airplane mode to reduce distractions. If someone may need to reach you, you can let them know you are in your car and you will be near your cell phone when you arrive at your destination. Thus, they will not get anxious if you don’t answer immediately. Also, do not forget that cell phones are not the only source of distraction. Having children in the car, eating food, and listening to music can also consume your attention. In any of these cases, you should pull over to a safe location where you can take care of whatever you need to do so you do not endanger yourself or others.
Buckle Up Every Time
Everyone has different feelings about seat belt use. Many people do the right thing by fastening their safety belts before starting their cars. In some cases, people do not wear seat belts when traveling down the street, but when they have a long trip, they wear them. Others ignore them completely.
Despite differences in opinions, seat belts are essential for saving lives. A seat belt keeps you inside the vehicle if there is a crash, giving you the best chance of surviving the impact. Seat belts prevent you from being tossed around inside your vehicle or ejected, both of which can lead to catastrophic outcomes. The CDC says that wearing a seatbelt is one of the best ways to reduce the severity of injuries and deaths caused by auto accidents.
Seat belts should be worn by anyone driving or riding in any type of motor vehicle. Whether you are riding in your personal vehicle, work van, in a taxi, or on a bus, make sure you are wearing your seatbelt. Additionally, the length of the trip should not determine whether you wear a seatbelt or not – make it a habit to always where your seatbelt.
Do Not Take Substances That May Slow Your Response Time
There is no question that consuming alcohol impairs your ability to think clearly, make fast judgment calls, and your motor skills—faculties that are necessary when driving. Because of this, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol level greater than 0.08% in Florida. Many people, however, tend not to consider the possible effects of other substances while driving. For instance, like alcohol, marijuana also slows reactions, affects coordination, and impairs judgment.
Additionally, over-the-counter or prescription drugs can cause impairment. Benadryl, while appearing to be non-harmful, can make you sleepy and affect your driving. Consider your options carefully before taking any medication that produces drowsiness.
Drive When You Are the Most Alert
Taking the wheel while tired, fatigued, or while drowsy makes driving extremely risky. In fact, being sleep-deprived is as dangerous as driving while impaired. Sleepiness can be difficult to judge, so you might believe you can push through a drive, but that’s often not the case. Even for a brief time, dozing off or closing your eyes can make it more difficult for you to react to a crisis.
This is particularly relevant if you intend to drive overnight to let your child sleep. If you are used to being up late or working through the night, this may be okay. However, if you usually go to bed at a decent hour and plan on driving through the night, you might be at risk.
Be Patient and Resist the Urge to Speed
The higher the speed of the vehicle, the more challenging and fatal accidents can be. It may not always be enough to simply follow the speed limit. Keep your speed appropriate for the present road conditions, which is especially vital during hurricane season and stormy weather. Another problem is that many people haven’t been driving for the past year, so they may be out of practice. Driving at a similar speed to those around you is a good idea. However, that does not mean you should speed up just because they are. Always remember that it’s more important to arrive safely than to arrive quickly.
Call Marsalisi Law If You’ve Been Injured in St. Petersburg, FL
By following a few essential safety tips, you can reduce the chances of being injured or killed in an accident. However, a reckless person can still severely injure or kill an attentive and conscientious driver. When someone else’s negligence leads to your injury, Marsalisi Law can help. Our firm represents injured accident victims throughout St. Petersburg, and we will relentlessly advocate for you until you obtain a fair settlement for your case.
Call our offices today at (727) 800-5052 or complete our contact form to arrange a free consultation with an accident attorney at Marsalisi Firm. During this session, we will review the details of your case, assess your situation, and explain your legal options so you will feel confident about your future.