While most of us are concerned about driving safety, and probably consider ourselves safe drivers, chances are that many of us have not had much instruction beyond the basic driver education classes we attended as teenagers. Learning the rules and regulations in our state and passing the actual written and driving tests qualified us to receive a license, but there is more that we can do to be safer, more responsible members of the driving community.
Motor vehicle accidents are costly, in terms of both dollars and lives. In a study released in 2008, the, or AAA, determined that auto accidents cost Americans over 164 billion dollars a year in property damage, medical care, emergency services, loss of productivity, and quality of life. This amounts to over $1000 per driver in the United States.
Theestimated that there were just over 37,000 traffic fatalities in 2008. This is the lowest number since 1961, which may be attributed, in part, to the fact that seat belt use has been increasing, and manufacturers have continued to develop improvements in passenger protection. Even so, many of these accidents could have been avoided. Aggressive driving, speeding, driver distraction, and impaired driving are contributing factors in many of these accidents. A research note released by NHTSA in 2005 revealed that car accidents were the leading cause of death for ages 3 to 34, and the 8th leading cause of death in the United States overall.
"Defensive driving" has become a popular phrase to describe a broad range of educational subjects and techniques aimed at improving motorists? ability to operate their vehicle in a safe, controlled manner. Defensive driving schools are available in classroom environments and online. While the information provided is easily learned, some of the driving techniques are difficult to learn without being able to duplicate situations behind the wheel. A defensive driving school can be a worthwhile investment, especially one that offers in-car training. In addition to providing valuable knowledge, completing a driving safety course might also qualify you for insurance discounts.
Driving safety is, for the most part, common sense. Be aware of your surroundings when operating a motor vehicle. Make sure you are awake and alert. Always wear your seat belt, and insist that your passengers do the same. Maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you. Avoid distractions, maintain your vehicle in a safe operating condition, and never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.