We all know that there are hazards on the roadways. Every time we get behind the wheel, we must contend with road conditions, weather, traffic levels and more in order to stay safe.
In addition to these, we must deal with the poor choices of other drivers. Experts recognize some driving behaviors as being so prevalent they’ve earned a distinctive nickname: the “4 Ds” of dangerous driving.
Distracted driving is deadly driving. This has been proven time and again, as distracted drivers cause an estimated 400,000 injuries and 4,000 deaths annually. Texting may get the most attention, but talking on a cellphone, eating, drinking, grooming, and using a GPS device can all be equally dangerous for those sharing the road with a distracted driver.
Advocacy groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving have for years sounded the alarm about the perils of drunk driving. We all know that drunk driving is illegal, but that doesn’t stop thousands of intoxicated drivers from hitting the road each day. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that about 10,000 people die each year in alcohol-related car crashes. This represents about one-third of all traffic fatalities.
As more and more states legalize marijuana for either recreational or medicinal purposes, expect there to be more affected drivers on the road. Drugged driving doesn’t just involve street drugs like marijuana, though. It also deals with prescription medications like pain pills or sedatives, over-the-counter remedies, and more. NHTSA data shows that about 18 percent of fatally injured drivers have some type of drug in their systems.
Driving while sleep-deprived may seem like no big deal, but fatigued drivers have been shown to have slowed reaction times and poor decision-making skills akin to drunk drivers. Drowsy drivers are responsible for an estimated 72,000 crashes each year, causing 44,000 injuries and more than 800 fatalities. The CDC thinks that the rate of drowsy driving is grossly under-reported, however, and thinks that the real number of deaths might be closer to 6,000 people every year.