When viewing statistics about reckless driving, it’s easy to assume that teenagers texting are the cause of every wreck on the road, but things are more complicated than that. For example, in 2019 more pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents than any other previous year. Rather than teenagers being implicated for this, it appears that trucks and SUVs played a role.
It’s also important to remember that times are changing. We now have more technology in our vehicles than ever before, and this plays a large role in traffic accidents. What caused a wreck back in 1960 has little or nothing to do with what causes a wreck in 2020. Here is what the AAA considers the top five most dangerous driving habits of 2020.
New advances in driver assistance systems
As frustrating as it may be to admit, that new infotainment system may be pulling your eyes from the road more than it’s making your life easier. In theory, it’s a great idea. All the info you need like your speed, your favorite song, and the pedestrian warning is just to the right of your steering wheel. There are even some great new apps that allow you to listen to the news as you drive. Even some of the new safety features being offered can prove distracting.
This all sounds good in theory, but what you need to be focused on is right in front of you. If your infotainment system is distracting you more than it’s helping you, perhaps it’s time to shut it off until you actually need it.
Food and drink
The Hot Light at Krispy Kreme may just be the most distracting item on this list. The temptation to swing by and grab a doughnut while it’s hot isn’t a problem on its own, but biting into it while you’re driving down the road is another matter. If you can’t say no to grabbing a bite to eat, whether it be McDonald’s or Starbucks, pull over before you eat or drink. It may not seem like that big a deal, but anything that takes your eyes off the road can lead to a wreck.
While it would be naive to blame teens for all the problems on the road, it’s no secret that new drivers go through a learning curve. Having extra passengers in the vehicle, especially others their own age, can increase the likelihood of a wreck. Try to teach your teenager to limit anything that distracts them until they gain more experience.
As bizarre as it may sound, the very thing that should get you to your destination safely may be exactly what causes you to wreck. A screen that goes to sleep, being rerouted down a road you’re not familiar with, or even trying to figure out why your GPS is not verbally giving you directions are all major distractions. It can cause you to focus more on your screen than the little old lady crossing the road in front of you.
Texts, emails, and phone calls
Texting might be at the top of the list, but checking your emails or taking calls while you’re driving can be just as dangerous. Most new vehicles offer features that can greatly reduce these risks. Rather than trying to find the right button as you’re driving down the highway in excess of 60 mph, you can use voice commands to communicate with your loved ones. If you drive an older vehicle that does not have these options, it’s best to just pull over if you really can’t wait to talk.
The National Safety Council reports that things are looking up
While all may not be as it should on the road, the death toll has dropped by 2 percent in 2019 according to the National Safety Council. This is good news for drivers in general and proves that things are improving. By implementing some basic driving habits, such as keeping our eyes on the road, 2020 could prove to be safer for drivers than in 2019.