There’s no stopping the clock and ready or not we’re on the road to 2018. But it’s still not too late to make a few New Year’s resolutions on the driving front. That said, here are five ways to resolve to be a safer driver in 2018.
1. Resolve to not drive distracted
Distracted driving, which includes talking, texting or reading emails on a cellphone, is a dangerous problem on the nation’s roadways that isn’t going away. The NHTSA estimates 660,000 drivers use electronic devices while behind the wheel during the day. It takes about five seconds, on average, to read or send a text and a lot can happen in those five seconds. In 2015, 3,477 people were killed in distracted driving accidents according to the NHTSA. Even using navigation can be a distraction.
In 2018 resolve to follow these NHTSA tips:
- Put your cell phone down and focus on the road.
- When using electronic devices for directions, set the destination prior to driving.
- Speak up when you’re a passenger and your driver uses an electronic device while driving. Offer to call or text for the driver, so his or her full attention stays on the driving task.
2. Resolve to not be an angry driver
The latest road rage statistics are alarming and something we’ve written about before. A recent AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study found that 80 percent of drivers surveyed admitted to expressing anger, aggression or road rage behind the wheel. Tailgating was the biggest offense, followed by yelling at another driver, honking and making angry gestures.
In 2018 resolve to follow these AAA tips to avoid road rage:
- Don’t Offend: Never cause another driver to change their speed or direction. That means not forcing another driver to use their brakes, or turn the steering wheel in response to something you have done.
- Be Tolerant and Forgiving: The other driver may just be having a really bad day. Assume that it’s not personal.
- Do Not Respond: Avoid eye contact, don’t make gestures, maintain space around your vehicle and contact 9-1-1 if needed.
3. Resolve not to drink and drive
Drinking and driving should be a thing of the past, but it’s not. According to NHTSA, in 2016, 37,461 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes, and 28 percent (10,497) died in crashes where a driver had a BAC over the legal limit.
In 2018 resolve to:
- Designate a sober driver.
- Call a cab or use a service like Uber or Lyft to get home safely.
- Download NHTSA’s SaferRide mobile app, available on Google Play for Android devices and Apple’s iTunes Store for iOS devices. It allows users to call a taxi or a predetermined friend and identifies the user’s location so he or she can be picked up safe and sound.
- Not allow your friends to drive impaired.
4. Resolve to go the speed limit
If you’re a speed demon, and many of us are, it’s time to ease your foot off the pedal. A 2016 AAA Foundation report revealed that 48% of drivers admitted to going 15 miles-per-hour over the speed limit. Worse yet, 39% admitted to running a red light.
In 2018 resolve to:
- Obey the speed limit.
- Never run a red light.
5. Resolve to not drive when you’re tired
Last, but not least, don’t drive when you’re sleepy. It happens much more often than you think. A 2014 AAA study found that more than one-in-five (21%) deadly crashes involved drowsy drivers.
In 2018 resolve to prevent yourself from driving when you’re tired by understanding these warning signs:
- The inability to recall the last few miles traveled.
- Having disconnected or wandering thoughts.
- Having difficulty focusing or keeping your eyes open.
- Feeling as though your head is very heavy.
- Drifting out of your driving lane, perhaps driving on the rumble strips.
- Yawning repeatedly.
- Accidentally tailgating other vehicles.
- Missing traffic signs.
These five resolutions will help keep the roads safer not just for you but your fellow drivers on the road throughout 2018.
Credit: Jinning Li/ShutterstockTags: New Year's Resolutions safety