Follow safety guidelines to avoid fatalities

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The risk of a fatal car accident is one of the greatest fears for drivers of all ages. According to the National Safety Council, approximately 40,200 people were killed in car crashes in 2016, with several hundreds of thousands more injured. While car crashes cannot always be anticipated or avoided, there are several steps that can be taken to reduce the risk.

In this world of an ever-increasing reliance on technology, distracted driving has become a major factor in vehicle-related crashes and fatalities. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 3,400 people were killed as a result of distracted driving in 2015, with an additional 391,000 injured. To prevent distracted driving, the NHTSA suggests avoiding texting, eating, drinking, playing with the stereo, or talking to passengers while driving. With approximately 660,000 drivers using their cell phones every day while driving, distracted driving is undoubtedly a major concern in 2018.

Speeding is another factor in vehicle-related crashes and fatalities. According to the NHTSA, about 27 percent of all fatal crashes occurred due to speeding.

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There are several consequences involved in speeding, including loss of control, a higher degree of severity in crashes and higher fuel consumption, the article states. Another study done by the NHTSA and the U.S. Department of Transportation found that 34 percent of crashes were due to “decision errors” which included speeding and driving aggressively. While it may be tempting to speed, driving above the limit puts everyone at risk – including the driver, passengers, other drivers and pedestrians. Above all, it is imperative to be aware and alert when driving. According to the study done by the Department of Transportation and the NHTSA, 41 percent of crashes that occurred during their study period happened because of distractions and inattention among other factors. Ten percent were due to errors such as lack of control and overcompensation. 34 percent were due to aggressive or fast driving. Due to the rural nature of our area, driving is a necessary part of life. But if we can avoid the risk factors associated with accidents, then the number of fatalities on our roads will also be reduced.