Reducing the Risk: Avoiding Car Fatalities
Car fatalities seem to occur with horrifying frequency. Crashes are constantly highlighted on news stations and in newspapers, despite continued efforts to encourage car safety. Laws forbidding distracted driving, excessive speed, and impaired vehicle operation are in place, but car fatality statistics continue to shock and worry America’s drivers.
Here, we’ll provide a look at some car fatality statistics before reviewing some basic car safety facts. Though we are powerless to control the actions of other drivers, the best step we can take to avoid accidents is to promote safety in our own vehicles.
Car Fatality Statistics
Surprisingly enough, fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled are at their lowest in more than fifty years. In 1952, 7.2 deaths per 100 million miles occurred, and the number has fallen steadily since. 2010 brought only 1.1 death per 100 million miles, down .5 since 2000. Such statistical language can make the data seem impersonal, and even gives the impression that few car fatalities occur in our present culture. In terms of raw data, however, 2010’s 1.1 deaths per 100 million miles translates to 32,885 lives lost on America’s roads. That’s 32,885 friends, family members, and loved ones who were missed and mourned in 2010. Such high numbers are shocking and warrant a look at our driving safety. The causes of car accidents resulting in fatalities are varied, but here are the top causes of fatal crashes:
- Drunk driving: 32%
- Speeding: 31%
- Distraction: 16%
- Bad Weather: 11%
Car fatality statistics and car crash facts seem to indicate that an unacceptable number of deaths are caused annually by reckless or careless drivers. Decreasing that number is the responsibility of each and every American driver.
Most drivers are aware of the principles of vehicle safety without ever even glancing at car safety articles. Still, many drivers do not choose to practice safe driving. Here are a few considerations for safe driving that, if implemented, could save a life. Maybe even yours.
- Keep your eyes on the road. Even after the reflex to hit the brake, it takes a car moving at 55 mph about 50 fee to come to a complete stop. That might not be enough to keep from rear ending someone, hitting a cyclist or pedestrian, or running a red light.
- If you’re feeling even the slightest effects of alcohol consumption, play it safe and either wait, or find a ride. If you’re a little tipsy, drink a couple glasses of water and give it an hour. It’s worth the time if it can prevent a fatality.
- Run a regular car safety check. Visit a mechanic to make sure that your brakes, tires, and transmission are in working order. Driving an uninspected vehicle is illegal, anyway. Save yourself a ticket and make sure your car is fit to be on the road.
- Remember that you’re not an exception to the rule. You have no right to complain about the behavior of other drivers if it looks just like your own. It may feel like you’re wasting time by staying within the limit, but you’ll never make that important meeting if you wind up in a serious accident.
Car fatality statistics and car safety are not to be taken lightly. Continued reduction of avoidable accidents is possible, as long as we agree to share the road and drive responsibly. Next time you slide in behind the wheel, make a commitment to protecting those around you.