Two Common Driving Habits That Could Kill You

Traffic tickets and fines

Traffic violations are common, but not something we should be comfortable with.

Think back on your driving history. Can you count every ticket you’ve ever received? What about every red light you’ve ever run? Every time you’ve ever driven over the speed limit?

It’s a common occurrence. Sometimes, just keeping up with the traffic can seem to require speeding. And let’s be honest; if there’s no police vehicle in sight, it’s easy to speed up without giving it a second thought. However, traffic tickets could be the least of your worries.

Most of us don’t want to think about the possibility of death on our daily commute. With hundreds or even thousands of hours in cumulative experience behind the wheel, it’s hard for many of us to believe that anything so horrible could happen if it hasn’t happened yet. But the sad truth is that it does happen, with the total number of deaths due to automobile crashes in the U.S. coming in at 33,561 in 2012. And while speeding is only one of many potentially deadly mistakes made while driving, it still factored into 29% of fatal car crashes in 2013.

Another common but dangerous mistake is driving while using a cell phone, particularly while texting. Talking on the phone is mentally distracting, but texting takes it a step further and forces you to physically look away from the road. While cell phone tickets may seem like a nuisance, they’re being handed out for a good reason; this combination of mental and visual distraction can lead to missing important visual cues, especially red lights. Red light violations have become practically endemic, accounting for 683 deaths and an estimated 133,000 injuries in 2012. Additionally, one in three people have claimed to personally know someone who has been injured or killed due to red-light running.

There’s never a bad time to start being a more conscious driver. Even if you’ve spent time in county court for previous traffic violations, you don’t have to resign yourself to being a poor driver. Just a few small adjustments in your driving habits, such as avoiding speeding, talking on the phone, and texting while driving, could make the difference between life, death, or spending the rest of your life knowing you were responsible for someone else’s death. More research here.

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