Each time you take your focus off the road, you're putting your life and the lives of others at risk.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), traffic fatalities increased by six percent from 2015 to 2016. Distracted driving, speeding, alcohol impairment and unrestrained passengers were the main culprits. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) provides these tips to help you drive safely behind the wheel.
Safety Driving Tips
Whether it's going to work, running errands or taking a special trip, for many, driving is a common daily activity. Yet something as normal as getting behind the wheel and driving can be anything but routine when an accident occurs. Remember, your car weighs more than 4,000 pounds, and an accident with a vehicle that is equal or heavier in size could be disastrous.
Things you should do:
- Maintain your vehicle. Have regular checkups, and make sure your tires are properly inflated and the lights work.
- Buckle up. Seat belt use is one of the most effective ways to save lives and reduce injuries after a crash. Yet thousands die each year as a result of being unrestrained.
- Use smart driving positions. Keep both hands on the steering wheel, and position them at 9 o'clock and 3 o'clock, or 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock (depending on the size and style of your steering wheel).
- Maintain speed limits. Obey all speed limits and watch out for hazardous road conditions.
- Adhere to the 3-second rule. When driving behind a vehicle, there should be 3 seconds of distance between your vehicle and the car in front of you. That space assures your ability to properly react if something happens.
- Map out your route. Taking your eyes of the road to program or look at a map can be a major distraction.
- Pay attention to the road. Distracted driving is dangerous and the cause of frequent, costly and often deadly accidents. Limit your distractions, and never use electronic devices to text or surf the web while driving. Drunk or drug-impaired driving, speeding and drowsy driving are dangerous. Take the "Keep the Road Code" pledge to being a focused, responsible driver.
WreckCheck App for Smartphones
In the course of your lifetime, an auto accident is bound to happen. When it does, take some of the guesswork out of a tense situation with the NAIC's WreckCheck™. This free mobile app for iPhone® and Android® smartphones outlines what to do immediately following an accident and walks users through a step-by-step process to create their own accident report.
Don't have a smartphone? Download a printable accident checklist
and other tips for staying calm, safe and smart on the road.