- Sleep Deprivation. Being sleep deprived can turn normal driving into dangerous driving and even lead to causing death. When tired, your reaction timing is severely affected along with a reduced awareness of your surroundings. This is strikingly similar to how alcohol affects a driver but those who feel sleepy will often not respond at all to an oncoming incident which is even more dangerous when driving. There is a straightforward way of avoiding death by dangerous driving due to sleep deprivation and though it may seem obvious, many drivers simply do not take the time to pull over and get some rest. This is most likely because people want to reach their destinations as quickly as possible and not spend any more unnecessary time on the roads. However, taking time out to rest is not unnecessary especially if it means saving yourself from death by dangerous driving and others on the road from harm.
- Speeding. An unfortunate common occurrence on the roads, speeding is a temptation that too many drivers give in to. The speed of a car has a direct correlation to the severity of the accident with this being backed up by simple physics. If everyone drove at similar speeds predicting the movement of other vehicles would be far more transparent but the high speeds make it much harder to predict and the time in which to react is drastically reduced. Taking these into account, it comes as no surprise that speeding is the second highest cause of fatalities on the road behind drunk driving. There are easy steps you can take to lower your speed such as utilizing the cruise control on your car (if it possesses it). Cruise control will maintain your current speed which can take away that temptation to increase the speed. Another way is to consider the amount of fines you would have to pay if you were to be caught and the points you would gain on your license.
- Drunk driving. The problems with drunk driving are very clear and it is the number one cause of fatalities on the roads, though some drivers continue to take the risk of driving under the influence. Alcohol interferes with the brain’s communication pathways leading to difficulty when coordinating mind and body. Therefore, it is evident why being in this state when behind the wheel of a car is an incredibly dangerous thing to do. The punishments for this offence are jail time, fines, points on your licence and driving bans. Taking precautions to avoid accidents are very simple: if you are over the limit take a taxi or have someone who is sober drive you home. In no circumstance is it necessary to get behind the wheel if you have had too much to drink because tragic consequences could be the result even if it is a short journey. It only takes one slip of concentration for you to lose control of your vehicle and retaining coordination is very challenging when drunk and it is not a challenge you should undertake.
- Using your mobile phone. The law surrounding the use of mobile phones in cars has been a hot topic in 2017 with the introduction of new legislation. This was expected as the new prime minster declared she would make changes and rightly so because mobile phones are a distraction. Furthermore, the statistics of drivers using mobile phones has risen alarmingly from 8% in 2014 to 31% in 2016 and those are only the drivers openly admitting to it. Police believe more accidents are caused by mobile phones than are shown in official reports since it is very difficult for them to discover if a mobile phone was being used. The severity of the new laws surrounding mobile phone usage demonstrates how dangerous it is. People walking in the street when on the phone struggle to look where they are going because of the distraction, so having that distraction when you are in control of a vehicle can be life-threatening.
- Not wearing a seat belt. Seat belts are a simple yet effective way to stay safe when behind the wheel of a car. According to the NHTSA, 15,000 lives are saved each year in the United States by seat belts. It is proven that seat belts save lives and it is incredibly effortless to wear them but some people do not strap in if they are traveling a short distance. However, there are many accidents that happen near homes or on short drives so it is just best to wear them just in case. Furthermore, just relying on airbags will not work because they are designed to function with seat belts.
- Driving in relation to weather conditions. Taking into account the weather conditions on the roads is important before setting out on your journey. When the weather becomes colder with ice and snow becoming factors on the road, the most effective thing you can do to avoid an accident is to simply slow down. When on a slippery surface the weight of a car will certainly force it to skid if you apply the brakes in a hurry. Driving fast in these particular weather conditions is not a risk any driver should take and once the car is out of your control, your life and the life of other road users is in danger so to the easy and safe thing and slow down. If everyone drove slower when the roads were icy the odds of crashing would be severely reduced.
- Reckless driving. Reckless driving can take many forms and does contribute to a number of accidents on the roads. Carelessly over-taking other vehicles, swerving in and out between vehicles and road rage are all unpredictable things to do on the road and unpredictability causes accidents. Keeping control of emotions is important on the road as it is not worth it if an accident occurs as a result. Furthermore, confident drivers believe they are good enough that they can get away with such manoeuvres without crashing, however, other drivers may not be as confident and seeing a speeding car over-take them may cause problems. Therefore, it is important to be aware of other drivers but also to be considerate because you may be a confident driver but others may not.
- Tailgating. Tailgating is a dangerous and needless thing to be doing when in control of a vehicle. Most importantly it does not give enough time for you to react if the car in front was to suddenly brake. It puts unnecessary pressure on the vehicle ahead of you and is another form of reckless driving. There are precautions to take when following behind another vehicle, the main one being that you should keep one car length behind for every 10mph.
Now that I have listed the most dangerous things to do behind the wheel it becomes apparent that these causes can be easily avoided. For the majority, there are small and simple action you need to take to ensure safety such as just wearing your seat belt or not using your mobile phone at all. Some drivers have even decided to rid all temptation and place their phones in the boot of the car. The laws for the road are evolving and it is important to keep up to date but if you are embroiled in a motoring legal dispute make sure you employ a lawyer you is skilled and experienced in that area.