According to the National Safety Council, more than 40,000 people in the United States died in traffic accidents in 2016. That’s a marked increase—14 percent—over just two years ago.
If you’re an urban dweller, you can decrease your risks of being in an accident simply by staying conscious of the specific dangers. Complacency, according to some theories, is one of the things that leads people into more accidents.
What are your biggest traffic dangers? Here are the three top concerns and what you can do to minimize your risk of being either the cause or victim of an accident:
— Distracted driving is a growing issue in the United States and has become the leading cause of car accidents. If you’re driving, don’t text, play with the radio, manipulate the GPS, eat your lunch or take calls behind the wheel. If you spot another driver on the road whose attention is clearly divided between the road and something else, like a cellphone, back off and keep a clear distance.
— Speeding is the second most common cause of accidents. Keep your speed to the legal limits, watch for speed limit changes—especially in urban areas and around school zones—and resist the urge to pass someone who is slowing down for a turn by crossing the yellow line. If someone is tailgating you because you aren’t driving fast enough to suit them, don’t push yourself to go faster. Instead, slow down and let them go around.
— Drunk driving is the cause of the most deadly car accidents. Never get behind the wheel yourself when you’ve been drinking and be conscious of the increased risk of encountering drunk drivers when you’re traveling after the dinner hour, around the times local bars close and on holidays.
The National Security Council’s findings suggest that people in the United States are far too nonchalant about driving dangers—accepting accidents as almost inevitable and seeing risky behavior like texting and driving as acceptable instead of being proactive about their safety.
If you are injured in a car accident, you may be saddled with a number of hospital bills and miss time from work while you recover. If the accident wasn’t your fault, consider contacting an attorney for advice on how to protect your rights and recover for your losses.
Source: Streetsblog USA, “America’s Traffic Death Toll Is a National Disgrace,” Angie Schmitt, Feb. 16, 2017