Dangerous driving behaviors impact safety for all

Being a responsible driver entails avoiding those dangerous habits known to cause accidents and reduce safety when on the road. Road and Track lists some of the more hazardous behaviors Orange County motorists should avoid to ensure a safe driving experience for all.

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is perhaps the most serious bad driving behavior one can undertake. Mind-altering substances greatly affect response time, as well as the basic motor skills essential to safe driving. Speeding can also prove deadly for the nation’s motorists, coming in just after drunk driving incidents in terms of vehicular fatalities. The best practice is to maintain a consistent speed, as falling below the posted speed limit has also been known to cause accidents.

Neglecting a vehicle’s built-in safety features is also a recipe for disaster, especially when it comes to wearing a seatbelt. While the inclusion of airbags has made traveling by vehicle far safer, they generally prove most effective for occupants also wearing their seatbelts. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that between 2004 and 2008 seatbelts spared the lives of over 75,000 people. Additionally, seatbelts must be worn on every drive in order to be effective, no matter how short the distance.

Accident statistics from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety show the far-reaching ramifications of irresponsible driving. In 2013 approximately 32,719 motorists died as a result of motor vehicle accidents, and many of these occurrences were linked to things like speeding, impaired driving and failure to use a seatbelt when in a vehicle. In California, motor vehicle deaths amounted to 2,772 in 2013 alone. In addition to the human toll, fatal accidents all over the nation incur an annual cost of $242 billion.