Are you guilty of these common driving mistakes? According to the National Safety Council, a staggering 10 million car accidents occur in the United States each year, resulting in 3,000 fatalities per day. Soberingly, approximately 200,000 of these accidents occur in Florida alone. Unquestionably, if you’re like most Americans, stepping behind the wheel is the most dangerous thing you do each day.
The cause? We’re all familiar with the statistics – with close to 3 out of 10 car accidents occurring due to driving under the influence, most individuals are well aware of the very real dangers of drinking and driving. In South Florida, where annual rainfall averages 54 inches (superseding the national average by 14 inches), weather-related accidents are prolific.
Yet what are the less commonly talked about dangerous / common driving mistakes? Which potentially fatal errors are you overlooking in deference to the usual suspects?
1.) Not Using your Turn Signal
Are you guilty of this too-common offense? “They’re far enough behind me”, you might think – “I’m in control.” Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to fall victim to what amounts to little more than a bit of driver’s seat bravado. Unless you’re on a desolate highway, driving is a group activity. When you fail to use your turn signal, drivers behind you are forced to react at the last second, and this is precisely how accidents occur.
2.) Leaving your High Beams On
Driving past sundown adds an extra challenge to an already perilous everyday activity. We’re humans, not cats, and the added demands of reduced light on depth perception and reaction time can have serious consequences. The natural consequence, then, is to crank those headlights to maximum capacity. But, at what cost? High beams can temporarily blind oncoming drivers, exponentially increasing the likelihood of catastrophic incident. Pro tip: Only use high beams on streets without streetlights – when you see the telltale flicker of an oncoming car’s headlights in the distance, cut those blinding beams. Remember, brighter isn’t (always) better!
3.) Speeding Through a Yellow Light
Red light, green light. How many of us have reveled in this popular childhood game? From preschool on, most Americans know without thinking that “red” means “stop”, and “green” means “go.” And yellow? For too many, it’s an incentive to speed up! Yet this very act is the cause of almost every intersection related accident you’ll see on the roads.
According to research, human reaction time in the case of an accident may be as long as 1.5 seconds – far longer than the precious few moments that precipitate a crash. When all is said and done, a mind blowing 99% of all car accidents are causes by human error. The next time you crank that ignition, arm yourself with the facts! And know that in the unfortunate event of an accident, the expertise and compassion of PROS Miami clinics and specialists are only a phone call away.