(AscendHealthy.com) – August is National Road Victim Month, which is held in honor of those who have lost their lives in fatal vehicular accidents. It’s also a great time to raise awareness for drivers and pedestrians.
Many of us tend to feel safe in our cars, so we often forget that getting from point A to point B can be a dangerous venture. According to the CDC, over 100 people die in the United States each day due to vehicle collisions.
Road safety is up to each of us. We may not be able to control every other motorist and pedestrian on the road, but we can take every measure possible to improve our chances of getting to our destinations intact. Changing just one or two bad habits could even save a life.
Cars and Trucks
Every time we get behind the wheel, we’re putting thousands of pounds of moving metal into our hands. A traveling car or truck can become a death trap in the blink of an eye, especially when we’re not taking every possible precaution to keep ourselves safe.
Some collisions are unavoidable, but human error is usually to blame. We can avoid these common pitfalls with good decision-making and a focus on staying attentive to the road.
Too many people think they’re exceptions to the rule — until something comes along to test their theory, and they wind up wrapping their hood around a tree. Texting, talking on the phone, eating, applying makeup and even listening to music that’s too loud can reduce our focus on the road and leave us vulnerable to accidents.
The National Law Review also warns against rubbernecking, daydreaming and searching for items just within reach or at our feet. If we must read a text or eat a quick meal, pulling over somewhere safe to do so could be the most important decision we ever make.
On average, 10,000 people die each year due to drunk drivers who’ve convinced themselves they’re sober enough to get behind the wheel. Drugs, both prescribed and illegal, add to the death toll. Remember, even a light buzz is usually too much, and choosing to drive anyway can be a deadly mistake.
Driving While Fatigued
Anyone who’s ever fallen asleep at the wheel knows what a dangerous and terrifying experience it can be. We may think we can focus on the road long enough to get to our destination, but too often, this type of thinking ends up being a fatal mistake. Driving tired is every bit as hazardous as driving buzzed, so it’s important to pull over if fatigue hits. Better to get there late than not at all.
Ignoring Traffic Laws
Most of us do our best to obey traffic laws, but some people make it a habit of pushing those boundaries. Speeding, weaving through traffic and ignoring traffic signals and signs is often reckless and unnecessary, and it could even cost someone their life. When we ignore traffic laws, we consciously decide to put ourselves and those around us at risk.
And remember: Seatbelts save lives.
Due to their size, these vehicles can be harder to see on the road, so other drivers may not notice someone on a motorcycle until it’s too late. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation stresses the importance of wearing a helmet, eye protection and protective clothing on every ride.
Motorcyclists should always assume they’re invisible to other drivers; in many cases, they virtually are. Bright clothing and reflective patches may help make drivers more visible, but blind spots can still lead to deadly surprises.
Bicyclists and Pedestrians
People who travel by bike or foot have the least protection against traffic vehicles, so these modes of travel require us to be just as vigilant. Staying visible by wearing bright colors and being constantly aware of potential threats can reduce risks. Always follow local laws and never attempt to walk or ride a bike while intoxicated; 47% of fatal pedestrian crashes result from drivers or pedestrians being under the influence.
We put our lives at risk every time we hit the highway, but our actions while we’re out there could make a life-or-death difference. Some bad habits die hard, but when the price of continuing could be another human being, the decision really is a no-brainer.
~Here’s to Your Healthy Ascension
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