August is National Traffic Awareness Month and a valuable reminder of the importance of traffic safety. Every day, thousands of people become victims of vehicle accidents including construction workers, pedestrians, drivers, and passengers. Such incidents can be prevented by paying attention to and following safety rules and guidelines.
National Traffic Awareness Month aims to highlight rules that can help prevent accidents that occur on the road. The World Health Organization (WHO) found that every year more than one million people are victims of fatal traffic accidents. WHO also reported that about 20 to 50 million people are injured in traffic-related incidents. Not only do accidents often cause physical distress but they can also cause emotional, social, and economical distress as well.
This month’s efforts aim to reduce traffic accidents by increasing awareness of traffic safety rules, including following the speed limit, avoiding texting while driving, driving with plenty of distance between cars, and so much more. When drivers don’t follow these safety measures accidents happen, especially in heavy traffic and work zones. The most common causes of collisions that were noted by police departments include:
- Following cars too closely.
- Unsafe lane movement.
- Failure to yield right-of-way.
- Running off the roadway.
- Running over objects on the road.
- Improper lane change.
- Inattentive driver.
- Unsafe speed.
So, what can you do to prevent a crash? These helpful tips below were provided by the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT):
The first and most important tip is to buckle up! According to the INDOT, wearing a seatbelt reduces your chance of being injured in a car crash by 60 percent. Did you know that in the state of Indiana, you can get pulled over and given a ticket if you don’t have your seat belt on? You should always adjust your seatbelt, so it lies across your upper thighs and fits snugly across your shoulder and chest.
The next safety tip is to never drive impaired! In the United States alone, an impaired driver kills someone every 30 seconds. Never put your life or others’ lives at risk by driving while intoxicated. Always choose a designated person to be the sober, designated driver, spend the night somewhere, or even call a ride sharing service like Uber to take you home. If you are ever in a situation where you see someone driving impaired, report it immediately.
As mentioned earlier, many drivers drive distracted, so make sure you are driving attentively. Avoid primary causes of distraction such as cell phones, listening to loud music, drinking beverages, or eating food. If you are driving long distances, take breaks and make sure you get enough sleep to avoid fatigue. Other tips that help reduce fatigue while driving include keeping your car’s temperature cool, not using cruise control, and taking frequent breaks.
Next, be sure to drive with a clear, level head, not in an aggressive manner. When drivers become aggressive, they are more prone to cause dangerous accidents. If you encounter an aggressive driver, be sure to report them right away, and keep away from them. If you become angry when you are driving take a deep breath, calm yourself down. Always remember that there are lives at risk when you are driving, yours included.
Lastly, always remember to share the road with your fellow drivers! Give trucks plenty of extra room. The bigger the trucks, the more room they need. Trucks are bigger vehicles and must make wider turns than smaller vehicles. Also make sure you aren’t breaking immediately in front of a truck; it takes trucks a longer time for a truck to stop.
If you are entering a construction zone, make sure you are driving within the speed limit. There are workers on the road trying to provide longer lasting roads for us drivers. If construction is occurring, there tends to be a much higher volume of traffic. It is especially important to pay attention and leave enough distance between you and the car in front of you.
Whether you are a driver, pedestrian, or passenger, you will always be using the road in some capacity. By being a cautious and alert driver, you are not only protecting yourself but others around you. So let us all do our part to be safe, follow safety guidelines and also create awareness about traffic safety!
Indiana Department of Transportation. (2022, September 12). Safe driving tips. INDOT. https://www.in.gov/indot/safety/safe-driving-tips/
Indiana Department of Transportation. (2022b, October 19). Work zone safety. INDOT. https://www.in.gov/indot/safety/work-zone-safety/
National Today. (2021, September 29). National Traffic Awareness Month. National Today. https://nationaltoday.com/national-traffic-awareness-month/