Risky Driving Habits: Avoid the 3Ds
Scott was a 26-year old corporate accountant. He was the kind of guy who never made mistakes and was never running late. He also enjoyed sports, so when a friend called with free tickets to a MLB playoff game on a Wednesday night, he jumped at the chance to go. The game ended at around 10 p.m. with a home team victory, which earned them the division championship and advanced them through the playoffs.
Although Scott usually went to bed at 10 during the week, when he and his friend heard there was going to be a post-game celebration at a popular local bar, he made an exception and stayed out later than usual. When he drove home, it was late and he was tired. So tired, in fact,that he forgot to set the alarm when he went to bed, causing him to wake up late the next day. To save time, he decided to use his cordless electric razor to shave on the way to work, usually at red lights or even while driving, which caused him to miss it when a light turned green a couple of times. He also swerved and almost hit another car at least once.
Although Scott was normally a responsible guy, he engaged in three dangerous driving practices on that Wednesday night and Thursday morning: driving after drinking, driving drowsy and driving distracted. These are the "3Ds" that cause of so many accidents that result in injury or death. Check out these facts:
- Every single day more than nine people are killed and more than 1,100 are injured in crashes that involve a distracted driver according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 10,076 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes in 2013, accounting for nearly one-third of all traffic-related deaths in the U.S.
- Although it is difficult to attribute crashes to sleepiness, the NHTSA also conservatively estimates that 100,000 police-reported crashes are the direct result of driver fatigue each year, resulting in an estimated 1,550 deaths and 71,000 injuries.
Avoid Driving Drunk
We all know how to avoid drinking and driving. If you're going to drink, have a designated driver, grab a cab, use a ride share service, take the bus or train…just don't plan on driving. Decide on your transportation ahead of time or just don't drink.
Avoid Driving Drowsy
People get busy and don't allow themselves time to get enough rest. Even if you do get enough rest, certain medications can make you drowsy, or an early flight can disrupt your sleep schedule. Whatever the reason, we've all driven when we're tired. Rest assured, there are things you can do to help wake up:
- Open the windows to get fresh air in the car
- Don't let it get too warm in the car
- Stop and grab a snack or caffeine and stretch your legs
- Stop in a safe place and take a 20-minute nap
It seems like we rarely heard of distracted driving until we could text and use mobile phones. The reality is anything that takes your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel or your mind off driving is a distraction. That could be eating, putting on makeup, shaving, looking at your GPS, adjusting the car thermostat or radio, or putting your seatbelt on after you start driving. And yes, texting or talking on the phone.
To avoid being distracted, be as prepared as possible. Plan enough time to get ready for the day before you leave, eat before you leave or when you arrive at your destination, put an address in your GPS, put your seatbelt on…do whatever you need to before you start the car. And finally, turn your phone off before you drive to avoid the temptation to use it.
The obvious way to avoid the 3Ds is to use common sense—don't drive DRUNK, don't drive DROWST and don't drive DISTRACTION. We hope these tips will make it easier to do that.