When you are out on the roads, it’s not difficult to spot people who have dangerous driving habits. Whether they are the result of a lack of education about safe driving practices or a matter of poor driving habits, these people present a danger to themselves as well as other drivers, passengers and pedestrians alike.
Dangerous driving habits are a leading cause of personal injury accidents and deaths in the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that more than 32,000 people are killed and over two million are injured every year in car and motorcycle accidents.
Causes of Poor Driving Habits
There are several reasons why someone may not be a good driver. In some cases, such as with some newer drivers, a lack of experience may be the root of the problem. People who have been driving for some time are also at risk of having poor driving skills, too. For someone who has been licensed for some time, poor driving habits may be the result of feeling overconfident in their abilities. They may have been driving their vehicle for several years or have a specific route they take to and from work each day. It would be unwise for them to think that they can ever stop paying close attention to what is going on around them while driving, since something unexpected can happen in just a few seconds.
Dangerous Driving Habits
Here are some examples of some common dangerous driving habits:
Driving Under the Influence
One of the most dangerous driving habits is driving while intoxicated on drugs or alcohol.
Drugs and alcohol will affect everyone differently, but the most common side effects based on BAC include:
0.02% BAC (About 2 alcoholic beverages)
- Reduced ability to multitask
- Decline in visual functions
0.08% BAC (About 4 alcoholic beverages)
- Short-term memory loss
- Decreased perception
0.15% BAC (About 7 alcoholic beverages)
- Impairment in vehicle control
- Substantial deficiency in visual and auditory information processing
Driving at an excessive rate of speed is quite common. This practice is especially dangerous when driving through a residential neighborhood or a school zone. Posted speed limits are not meant to be suggestions; ignore them and you run the risk of being stopped and ticketed by police.
Cell Phone Use
Many people use cell phones on a regular basis to keep in touch with family, friends and work associates. The problem is that it’s very difficult to keep your eyes on the road while talking on a cell phone. If you feel that you need to be accessible while driving, set your phone to hands-free and use the speaker feature.
Eating While Driving
It may be tempting to try to multitask and have a snack (or a full meal) while driving, but this is not recommended. When you are behind the wheel of your vehicle, your full attention should be on what is happening around you on the road. Trying to eat while keeping control of your car is a difficult, if not impossible task.
Failing to Use Turn Signals
When a driver uses the turn signals that their vehicle is equipped with properly, it gives notice to other people on the road of their intention to change lanes or make a turn. Failing to do so may cause an accident, and may also be at the root of situations where a motorist has experienced the consequences of road rage.
Driving Without a Motorcycle Helmet
Motorcycle accidents are commonly very serious due to the limited amount of protection riders have from the road. However, wearing a motorcycle helmet can reduce the risk of death by 37% and decreases the chance of a head injury by 69%.
Even if you catch yourself being guilty of one of these dangerous driving habits, you can make changes to your driving routine to improve them. Being aware of what you are doing when you are behind the wheel is the first step. Make a point of focusing only on the road when you are driving, and if you need to eat, apply cosmetics, or make a phone call, pull over first.
Make sure everything is taken care of before you get behind the wheel to avoid being negligent of the road.
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