According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, road traffic crashes are the major cause of unnatural death in the US. And it did not get better during the pandemic. Forbes says that the roads have been emptier but deadlier in the US.
This may be due to different reasons, including a lack of safety culture when using the road. This article discusses the causes of road accidents and the measures to prevent these accidents from claiming more lives.
Causes of road accidents
Having a safety culture is essential in providing safety for all road users. In promoting a safety culture, the road safety system should ensure and assume that there are chances for human error. Hence, risk factors such as speed, road and road user safety, and vehicle safety must be considered. Taking these risk factors into account may save a lot of people’s lives.
According to the World Health Organization, speeding is directly linked to the chances of a crash and the severity of damages and injury in a crash. The higher the speed, the more chances there are to have serious or even fatal crashes.
And it does not only affect the road user; it can also impact pedestrians. The higher the speed, the more chances there are for a pedestrian getting hit by a vehicle. This is why a police speed gun is necessary; it can help detect cars exceeding the speed limit and ultimately saves people’s lives.
Driving Under the Influence
Both alcohol and psychoactive substances are responsible for vehicular accidents. Being under the influence of both substances increases the risk of crashes; this may lead to serious injuries, or worse, death.
Around 28 Americans die every day due to drunk driving. The smallest amount of alcohol consumed by a person can affect their ability to drive. A breathalyzer or a blood test is used to measure the amount of blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Drivers with .01 to .07 g/dL are highly susceptible to car crashes; in 2019, drivers who had BAC around these numbers died in a crash.
Meanwhile, drugged driving is the act of using a vehicle while intoxicated with drugs. Just like driving under the influence of alcohol, this act is unsafe, too. The impact of drugged driving depends on the substance used.
For example, using marijuana, a downer, can slow a person’s reaction time; this is dangerous because it impacts a driver’s judgment and coordination. Cocaine, on the other hand, can make a person hyper, aggressive, and reckless. The use of these substances can hurt people within the vehicle and those who are innocently involved in the crash.
Another human error resulting in car crashes is distracted driving. Distracted driving is becoming more and more common over the years because of the use of mobile phones. As drivers use their phones while on the road, they are more likely to be involved in a crash. Looking at the phone can distract a driver from following signals and the correct lane in a road.
People who think that using a hands-free device is safer are wrong. Texting or even just hearing notifications can distract a driver from focusing on the road.
Nonuse of safety devices
Safety devices are invented and required by the law for a reason: to protect road users in case of accidents. Sadly, most people ignore the use of these safety devices such as helmets, seatbelts, and child restraints.
The use of a helmet can reduce serious injuries by up to 42%. Using a seatbelt can reduce death risks to up to 50%. The use of child restraints can protect children from dying due to crashes to up to 60%.
Preventing road accidents
Improving safety culture and awareness can prevent road accidents, injuries, and deaths. As a driver, one must know that they are responsible for themselves, their passengers, and other people’s lives.
Safety precautions can be observed to avoid fatal accidents. As we know that speeding is directly linked to the rate of accidents, avoiding the fast lane may be a good measure. A driver must know that looking at the side and rear mirrors is essential to be aware of the surroundings and other cars behind.
As a precaution, slow down when there are blind spots. Driving at night is especially dangerous, so it is best to be extra careful and alert during this time. In addition, before traveling, it is necessary to check the condition of your car. Checking your breaks, oil, and tires regularly may save your life.
Just as checking a car’s condition is essential, checking the driver’s condition is essential, too. Remember, most accidents are caused by human error. Therefore, these accidents are controllable.