Most of us never think twice about how we drive. It can be such a routine activity. We simply hop in our cars and hit the road.
However, when we approach driving that way, it can lead to us developing bad habits such as speeding when we think we can “get away with it” or allowing ourselves to be easily distracted. Those habits can, in turn, place us at an increased risk of getting into a car accident.
As we say goodbye to 2016 and head into a new year, it would be good for all drivers in New Jersey to assess the way we approach driving, make a vow to get rid of our bad habits and resolve to become better, safer drivers during the coming year.
Put Your Cell Phone Away
If you want to be a better driver, one of the easiest things you can do is to put your cell phone away when you are behind the wheel.
Cell phones are incredibly distracting. The use of cell phones by drivers contributes to numerous accidents in New Jersey every year. Using your cell phone to talk, text, check your e-mail or surf the Web while driving simply are not worth the risks.
In fact, data from the State of New Jersey Department of Transportation shows that in, during one recent year, cell phone use contributed to more than 2,000 accidents in our state, causing 768 injuries and at least one death.
If you have trouble resisting the temptation to use your cell phone while driving, consider turning it off when you start your car, putting it away in your glove box or installing an app that disables the cell phone while your car is in motion.
Wear Your Seatbelt
Another way that you can be safer in 2017 is to prioritize the act of buckling up. You really have no reason to not click your seatbelt every time you get in the car – whether you are a driver or passenger.
Using a seatbelt can save your life. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that more than half of teens and adults who died in car crashes in the U.S. during one recent year were unrestrained at the time of crash. If these people had been restrained, there is a chance that they would have survived.
Buckling up is the easiest way to reduce the risk of fatal injury in the event that you in an auto accident.
Not only should you make sure that you buckle up, but you should also double check to make sure that any children or other passengers in your vehicle have buckled up, too.
Children of certain weights, heights and ages need to be in proper child safety restraint seats. If you have children, check child safety seat requirements and be sure the seat and your child properly secured before the car is in motion.
Give Drivers More Room and Slow Down
Traffic in New Jersey can be a nightmare. If you are like most drivers on New Jersey’s roads, the thought of spending hours waiting in traffic is a miserable one.
You may be easily tempted to do anything you can to arrive at your destination quicker, including speeding, following too closely or engaging in other acts of aggressive driving like cutting other drivers off. However, these acts are illegal. They also are just plain dangerous and create a high risk of accidents.
While getting to your destination quickly may be important, safety should be your top priority. No trip is worth the risk of an accident. If you have trouble calming down and exercising patience when behind the wheel, ask someone else to drive or consider using public transportation options.
Never Drink and Drive
Of all of the killers on American roadways, alcohol is a top culprit. Alcohol-related crashes account for nearly one-third of all traffic deaths in the U.S., according to the CDC, meaning that a third of lives are lost due to preventable causes each year.
If you have an alcoholic beverage in 2017, please do not drive afterwards. Drinking impairs your ability to think clearly as well as your reaction time. Such impairment can be deadly when it comes to the operation of a motor vehicle.
Invest in Auto Maintenance and Repairs
Being a great driver goes beyond your actions when you are actually driving. The health of your vehicle is another important component of safe operation.
If you own a car, be sure to maintain it on a regular basis and get repairs when necessary. Check the tread and pressure of your tires, keep oil levels in check, replace your windshield wipers regularly and be sure you know how long your brakes will last and when they will need replacement.
A poorly maintained vehicle can be dangerous. It can increase your risk of an accident. Even if you are driving as safely as possible, something as unexpected as a tire blowout, which you can do nothing to prevent in the moment, may lead to a tragic crash and devastating injuries.
Injured in an Auto Accident? Get Help from an Experienced Lawyer
Following the safe driving habits listed above and committing to resolve to be a better driver can help to keep you and your loved ones safe in 2017.
However, while you can control your own actions behind the wheel, you cannot control the actions of others. If the negligence of another driver leads to a crash, be sure to take immediate action to protect your right to a financial recovery.
At Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C., we can help you to understand everything you need to know about seeking compensation after a crash caused by another party. We serve clients from offices located throughout New Jersey.
Contact us today to learn more and tell us the details of your case. Our consultations are always completely free.