June is National Safety Month: Drive safe and arrive alive

Dr. Angela Seabright
Niccole LaDue

| 3 min read

Hands on a steering wheel
Most people living in Michigan don’t think twice about driving. It’s nothing for us to drive 20 minutes to the grocery store or 45 minutes to work. But, when’s the last time you thought about you’re daily driving? Are you practicing safe driving to ensure you and those around you arrive alive?
Motor vehicle-related injuries are the number one cause of death for children, teens and adults ages 5 -34. More than 300,000 lives are lost per year due to motor vehicle crashes in the United States. Motor vehicle crashes are preventable and new programs and policies are being implemented to keep drivers, passengers, cyclists and pedestrians safe. Practice the safety tips below to keep yourself, your family and others around you safe while on the road.
  1. Never drive impaired. More than 30 percent of all motor vehicle crash fatalities in the U.S. involve alcohol. Never get into a car with someone who’s been drinking or get behind the wheel yourself if you’ve been drinking. Instead, call a cab, a friend or a family member. Being tired is a form of impairment too. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates more than 100,000 police-reported crashes are directly related to driver fatigue each year. If you feel like you’re dozing off or not able to focus, pull off to a rest area for a power nap or check into a hotel (or don’t get behind the wheel in the first place).
  1. Avoid distractions. Did you know that a texting driver is 23 times more likely to get into a crash than a non-texting driver? That’s because when using a cell phone while driving your reaction time can be delayed by as much as 20 percent! If it’s too tempting, try putting your cell phone in the back seat, turn off all notifications or download one of the many apps that disable cell phone use while driving.
  1. Slow down. Speed determines the force of impact. So the faster you’re going, the harder you’ll crash. If you’re car is equipped with cruise control, use it! You’ll save on gas mileage too. If it’s time you’re worried about, consider this…In most cases, driving 10 mph faster will only save you a few minutes, but increases your crash risk by 50 percent. The risks associated with speeding far outweigh the little amount of time you’ll save.
  1. Click It or Ticket. Make sure everyone in the car is wearing a seatbelt. When worn properly, seatbelts prevent you from being thrown from a vehicle in the event of a crash. Recent data from NHTSA says that more than half of all crash fatalities were people who weren’t wearing seatbelts. Plus, if you get caught not wearing your seatbelt you’ll be presented with a $65 fine.
  1. Always be aware of your surroundings. Many motor vehicle crashes and injuries can be prevented just by being more aware of your surroundings while driving. We share the road with motorcycles, bicyclists and pedestrians and it’s important to always be alert. Remember to always check your blind spot, allow greater following distance behind motorcycles, and be extra cautious when approaching intersections.
Don’t become another statistic. Stay safe while on the road.
Check out these great sites for more safe driving tips:
Photo credit: anyaberkut

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