According to the Maryland Department of Transportation, more than 500 people died in traffic accidents on Maryland roadways in 2016. Traffic accidents are the number one killer of people between the ages of 4 and 34. While not all accidents are preventable, there are things you can do to try and keep yourself and your loved ones safe on the roads.
Maintain a safe driving speed.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, speeding is one of the most prevalent factors contributing to car accidents. Driving even 10 miles per hour faster is only going to save you a few minutes on the road but can increase your risk of a crash by 50%. Your chances of dying, or being seriously injured, will double every ten mph that you drive over 50 mph. The time you save is nothing compared to the risks associated with speeding.
Don’t drive distracted.
Using a cell phone behind the wheel can reduce your reaction time by more than 20%. But texting isn’t the only thing that diverts your attention in potentially dangerous ways. Distractions also include:
- Talking on the phone
- Eating and drinking
- Pets in the car
- Applying makeup
- Talking to passengers
The best advice on driving distractions is to keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road.
Be well-rested and alert.
Driving safely begins before you even get in your car. A study conducted by researchers at Virginia Tech found that 20% of all accidents have drowsiness as a contributing factor. It’s obvious that falling asleep at the wheel can have dire consequences, but even being a little drowsy can be enough to increase your risk of getting in an accident. Make sure you get a good night’s sleep, especially the night before a long drive. If you’re driving and feel yourself nodding off, pull over in a safe area and take a break until you feel more alert.
Don’t follow too closely.
It is always important to keep a safe distance between yourself and the vehicle in front of you. You need enough time to react if the car in front of you makes a sudden stop or turn. Most experts recommend a “three-second rule” when gauging a safe distance. Find a stationary object on the side of the road and, when the car ahead of you passes it, start counting seconds. At least three seconds should pass before your car passes the same object.
Contact an Experienced Accident Attorney
While following these tips can help you be a safer driver, you can’t prevent all accidents. If you’ve been injured in a car accident on Maryland roads, you need an experienced accident attorney on your side. Contact the attorneys at Alpert Schreyer, LLC, online or call us at 844-MDCRASH for a free consultation.