Driving is a privilege and comes with great responsibility. Every year, millions of people are injured or killed in car accidents due to dangerous driving behaviors such as speeding, distracted driving, drowsy driving, and more. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has identified six of the most dangerous driving behaviors that people should avoid to help reduce the number of car crashes.
Driving can be dangerous enough when you’re following the rules, but when you introduce risk factors like driving while impaired or distracted, the stakes are even higher. That’s why the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) identified six behaviors that put everyone on the road in potential danger: drunk driving, drug-impaired driving, distracted driving, not wearing a seat belt while in a vehicle, speeding, and drowsy driving. All these dangers can have serious consequences both for yourself and those around you – so to ensure everyone stays safe it’s important that drivers take extra caution to avoid all of the NHTSA’s most vulnerable points.
Let’s take a look at what these behaviors are and why they are so hazardous.
The Short Version:
- Drivers should make an effort to avoid the six most dangerous driving behaviors identified by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). These include:
- Drunk Driving – 11,654 fatalities in vehicle accidents where at least one driver was impaired by alcohol were reported in 2020.
- Drug-Impaired Driving – Law enforcement is stepping up its drug-impairment detection game with more than 9,800 certified drug recognition experts as of December 2019.
- Distracted driving was responsible for 324,652 injuries and 3,142 deaths in 2020 according to the NHTSA. Activities such as cell phone use and texting are only a few of the many distractions that can take drivers’ attention away from the road.
- An estimated 90.4% of front-seat occupants wore their seatbelts in 2021; however, 51% of passenger vehicle occupants killed in 2020 were unrestrained – an increase of 4%. Wearing a seat belt reduces fatal injury by 45% and the risk of moderate to critical injury by 50%.
- Speed was involved in 28% (11,258) fatalities and 13% (308013) injuries during 2020 – an increase from 2019’s 9592 speed-involved fatalities over two decades ago. Speeding increases severity when crashes occur while reducing the ability to stop quickly or utilize safety equipment effectively if needed.
- Drowsy driving caused 633 deaths on roads across America last year with most accidents occurring between midnight & 6 am involving single drivers running off roads without braking attempts beforehand.
Drunk driving is one of the most serious dangers on the road today. Each year in the United States, over 10,000 people die in drunk-driving-related accidents and hundreds of thousands more are injured. Not only does this behavior put individuals at risk but it also puts others on the road in danger as well. It is important for drivers to remember that even just one drink can impair their ability to drive safely and increase their risk of causing an accident.
Drug-impaired driving is another growing problem in the United States. As of December 2019, there are over 9,800 certified drug recognition experts working to detect intoxicated drivers on the road and keep everyone safe. If you suspect someone may be driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, what you should do is contact law enforcement immediately.
Distracted driving is another major cause of car crashes in the U.S., with over 3,000 deaths attributed to it each year. Distractions can come from a variety of sources such as cell phones, eating while driving, or even hands-free devices like Bluetooth headphones or voice-activated GPS systems.
Research shows that even hands-free devices can be dangerous distractions for drivers since they still require cognitive energy which could take away from attention on the road ahead.
In 2020, the dangers on our roads continued to be a major issue, with more than 11,000 fatalities and 324,000 injuries attributed to drunk and distracted drivers. Some of those people were surely going about their normal day, never expecting it to be their last.
We can all do our part to make roads safer for everyone by never driving under the influence or letting ourselves become distracted while driving.
Not Using Seat Belts
The use of seat belts is essential when it comes to driver safety; according to NHTSA statistics, nine out of ten people who were killed in passenger vehicles last year were not wearing seat belts at the time of their crash. Unfortunately, seat belt use has been declining; only 82% of front-seat occupants wore their seatbelts in 2020 compared to 90% in 2019. Wearing a seat belt reduces your risk of being hurt or killed in an accident by 50%.
It’s encouraging to hear that so many front-seat occupants are wearing their seatbelts this year. However, it’s still disheartening that the number of unrestrained passenger vehicle occupants killed last year is higher than it was two decades ago. One way we can make a real difference is by reinforcing safety rules and always wearing seat belts ourselves in order to set a good example for others. Wearing a seat belt doesn’t just limit the severity of injuries and fatalities — it also reduces the likelihood of them occurring in the first place. Let’s work together to make sure everyone is buckling up before they hit the road!
Speeding remains one of the leading causes of fatal car accidents every year; over 9 thousand deaths were attributed to speeding last year alone and hundreds more sustained injuries due to reckless speeders on the roads. Obeying speed limits not only helps keep you safe but also other drivers around you since excessive speeds increase stopping distance and make it harder for drivers to react quickly if something unexpected happens on the roads ahead.
The data from 2020 is shockingly heartbreaking; an increased number of speed-related fatalities has left far too many families and communities in mourning. The statistics show that not only did the number of deaths due to speed increase in 2019, but the number of injuries rose as well. It’s especially difficult to think about how those numbers had dropped significantly over two decades prior, a reminder that speeding continues to lead to unnecessary tragedy. In the wake of such stark figures, it’s imperative that swift action is taken to reduce Speed-related fatalities and build better driving habits.
Drowsy driving can be just as deadly as drunk or distracted driving; according to NHTSA statistics, almost 800 people died last year due to drowsy drivers behind the wheel and many more were injured due to fatigue-related crashes. Most accidents involving drowsy driving occur between midnight & 6am with single drivers running off roads without braking attempts beforehand indicating that they had fallen asleep behind the wheel before crashing into something else on the roads ahead.
Drowsy driving is something we should all be wary of. Last year, it was found to have caused 633 deaths on roads across America – a truly sobering statistic that should give us pause. What’s even worse is that most of these accidents occurred late at night or in the early morning hours, likely involving single drivers who were too tired to stay awake while behind the wheel and never had a chance to make any braking attempts before running off the road.
Consequently, if you’re feeling drowsy when you’re behind the wheel, then it’s best to pull over and take a nap. Even a small rest can go a long way towards ensuring your safety on the road and avoiding becoming another sad statistic of last year’s findings.
It is important for all drivers to be aware of these six most dangerous behaviors identified by NHTSA so that we can all stay safe while on the roads! Drunk, distracted, speeding, and unrestrained passengers all contribute directly or indirectly towards increasing fatalities every year – so make sure you always exercise caution whenever you get behind the wheel! Be smart about your decisions and make sure you wear your seatbelt at all times no matter how short your journey may be!
Driving safely is not only important for avoiding accidents and keeping yourself and other drivers safe on the roads, but it’s also essential for saving money on auto insurance. Many insurance companies offer lower rates to drivers who demonstrate safe driving behaviors such as following speed limits, avoiding distracted driving, and wearing their seatbelts.
Stay safe out there!