A recent study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety revealed that 87% of drivers surveyed admitted to engaging in risky behavior behind the wheel. This number is significant, and it shows that there are a lot of people on the roads who need to be more safety-conscious. By eliminating risky driving habits, accidents can be avoided and lives can be saved.
Common Risky Driving Habits
The AAA survey included data collected from a sample of 2,442 licensed drivers who had driven in the last 30 days. And here is a breakdown of the behaviors to which they admitted.
- Cell Phone Use (Talking): 70% talked on a cellular device in the last 30 days. 31% regularly have cell phone conversations while driving.
- Speeding: 48% said that they went 15 miles per hour over the speed limit in the last month, with 15% admitting that they regularly go 15 over. 45% owned up to going 10 mph over the speed limit within the last 30 days.
- Texting: 42% read a text message while driving, with 31% claiming to do this regularly. 32% typed or sent texts in the last month.
- Red Lights: 39% ran a red light when they could have easily stopped safely, and 26% of those surveyed admitted to doing this more than once.
- Driving Tired: 32% confessed to driving when they had a hard time keeping their eyes open because they were so tired. 22% reported this happening more than once.
- Seat Belts: 18% claimed to have driven without a seat belt in the last 30 days, and 15% apparently did this more than once.
- Driving Drunk: 13% admitted that they had driven with an alcohol level that was possibly near or over the legal limit in the last 12 months, and 9% said that they did this more than once.
In response to this survey, Peter Kissinger, the president and chief executive officer of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety had the following to say to drivers:
"There is a culture of indifference for far too many drivers when it comes to road safety. The vast majority of motorists believe they are more careful than others on the road, though most of them are not making safe decisions while behind the wheel. We’re asking every driver to make responsible decisions to make the roads safer for everyone."
How can you take measures to prevent risky driving?
Being Proactive About Behind-the-Wheel Safety
If you know that you are guilty of one or more bad driving habits, you can help to make the roads safer for everyone by identifying these problems and correcting your behavior.
- Put the phone away. Your calls and texts messages can wait until you have arrived at your destination.
- Slow down. Leave early to get to where you are going so you don't have to resort to speeding.
- Respect red lights. Even if no one seems to be around, stopping at a red light is the law.
- Get some rest. Try to avoid getting behind the wheel if you know that you are sleep deprived.
- Use your seatbelt. No matter how short your trip is, buckle up and ask your passengers to do the same.
- Drink Responsibly. If you know that you will be drinking, plan on not driving. Designate a friend.
It just takes some thought and consideration to be a safer driver. Remember that operating a vehicle is a potentially dangerous activity, and the precaution that you take today may be the one that prevents a collision.
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