There are bad drivers everywhere. You've seen them on the streets of Atlanta and on highways throughout Georgia. Some are speeding or driving aggressively. Others are on the phone or dozing off behind the wheel. Too often, these types of bad driving habits result in car accidents that leave people seriously injured.
Most drivers admit to unsafe habits
These habits are common, according to the Traffic Safety Culture Index released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. In a survey, more than half of respondents admitted to engaging in risky driving behavior.
"People act as though speed limits and stop signs are suggestions," said Arnie Kinsler, a AAA Driving School instructor.
The good news is that these bad driving habits can be changed. AAA offers some common-sense tips for these drivers to start the new year off safely.
Avoid distracted driving
Activities such as reading or sending texts or emails or even holding a cell phone while talking on it can be dangerous. They take a driver's eyes off the road and hands off the wheel. Drivers can break this habit by setting their phones to "Do Not Disturb." They can also put the phone in a place that's out of reach while they're driving.
Don't drive impaired
Driving after drinking alcohol, using marijuana, or taking prescription drugs is another dangerous habit. Impairment can affect a driver's concentration, coordination, judgment, and ability to react quickly to road conditions. Drivers can break this habit by not getting behind the wheel after using any of these substances. Instead, they can rely on a designated driver, taxi, or ride-sharing service such as Uber or Lyft.
Be aware of drowsy driving
Too many drivers get behind the wheel when they are fatigued. They may have a tough time staying awake while driving, increasing the risk of a crash. Fatigued drivers are less alert, unable to concentrate, and have slower reaction times. Drivers on long trips can break this habit by stopping every two hours or 100 miles to rest. If possible, someone else can take over the driving.
Watch your speed
Many survey respondents admitted to driving 15 mph over the limit on freeways and 10 mph over the limit on residential streets. When a car is speeding, drivers need a greater distance to come to a complete stop. Drivers are also more likely to lose control at higher speeds. They can break this habit by always knowing the posted speed limit and following it. Cruise control is a good way to avoid speeding on the highway.
Don't engage in aggressive driving
There are many examples of aggressive driving, including driving through a red light, carelessly and quickly changing lanes, and following another vehicle too closely. Aggressive driving is a danger to other road users and increases the risk of a crash. Drivers can change this habit by staying calm and following the rules of the road.
Kinsler urges experienced drivers to be vigilant, avoid slipping into dangerous habits, and consider taking a defensive driving course. AAA also focuses on teaching young drivers safe driving habits.
"One of the best ways to instill good driving habits is to explain why a regulation is important, and what can happen if you don't follow it," said Gary Driscoll, a AAA behind-the-wheel driving instructor. "I stress situational awareness when driving."
Hold negligent drivers accountable
If you were hurt in a crash caused by a negligent driver, you need an experienced car accident lawyer to protect your rights and fight for the maximum compensation you deserve.
Negligent drivers often deny doing anything wrong, and insurance companies will try to minimize compensation through various tactics, such as blaming the crash victim or questioning the severity of injuries.
The Law Offices of Gary Martin Hays & Associates, P.C. has recovered over $1 billion for Georgia families since 1993 and is ready to help you find your way forward after a crash.
Learn about your potential legal options and get answers to your questions. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. There are no obligations, and we offer our clients a "Zero Fee Guarantee." That means you pay nothing unless we win your case. Call us today to learn more.