Traffic fatalities increased by six percent from 2015 to 2016, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Distracted driving, speeding, alcohol impairment and unrestrained passengers were the main culprits.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners provides these tips to help you drive safely.
Safe Driving Tips
Whether it's going to work, running errands or taking a vacation, driving is an essential part of everyday life. Yet something as normal as getting behind the wheel can be anything but routine when an accident occurs. Remember, your car weighs more than 4,000 pounds and an accident with a vehicle that is equal or heavier in size could be disastrous.
Things you should do:
- Maintain your vehicle. Have regular checkups, make sure your tires are properly inflated and ensure the lights work.
- Buckle up. Seat belt use is one of the most effective ways to save lives and reduce injuries after a crash. Sadly, thousands die each year as a result of being unrestrained.
- Use smart driving positions. Keep both hands on the steering wheel, and position them at 9 o'clock and 3 o'clock, or 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock, depending on the size and style of your steering wheel.
- Maintain speed limits. Obey all speed limits and watch for hazardous road conditions.
- Adhere to the three-second rule. When driving behind a vehicle, there should be three seconds of distance between your vehicle and the car in front of you. That space assures your ability to properly react if something happens.
- Map out your route. Taking your eyes off the road to program or look at a map can be a major distraction.
- Pay attention to the road. Distracted driving is dangerous and the cause of frequent, costly and often deadly accidents. Limit your distractions and never use electronic devices to text or surf the web while driving. Drunk or drug-impaired driving, speeding and drowsy driving are dangerous. Take the Keep the Road Code pledge to being a focused, responsible driver.
WreckCheck App for Smartphones
If an accident happens, take some of the guesswork out of a tense situation with the NAIC's WreckCheck™. This free mobile app for iPhone® and Android® smartphones outlines what to do immediately following an accident and walks users through a step-by-step process to create their own accident report.
Don't have a smartphone? Download a printable accident checklist and other tips for staying calm, safe and smart on the road.
For more on distracted driving, click here.