The Dangers of Reckless and Distracted Driving: How Your Actions Can Save Lives on the Road

 

 

 

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Have you ever run a red light to get to where you need to be faster? Have you glanced at your phone to send a text or search for something while behind the wheel? If so, you are part of the problem when it comes to dangerous driving and road safety. However, you also hold the power to be part of the solution.

 

Types of DistractionsAdobeStock_135737130

According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an estimated 290,000 people were injured in crashes involving distracted drivers in 2022. Distracted driving includes any action that shifts focus away from the task of driving safely.

This includes activities like:

  • Using your phone for calls or texts
  • Consuming food or beverages
  • Talking with passengers
  • Adjusting the radio, entertainment, or navigation systems

In addition to distractions, we also encounter risky driving behaviors on the road. These include:

  • Drunk driving
  • Drowsy driving
  • Not paying attention to speed limits
  • Drug-impaired driving

You cannot drive safely unless the task of driving has your full attention! Any non-driving activity you engage in increases your risk of crashing and hurting yourself and others. You need to ask yourself, is it worth playing Russian roulette with other peoples’ lives? Is it worth putting your life or your children’s lives at stake? Don't be a high-risk driver.

 

Red Signal With Cars_AdobeStock_302124368Examining Red Light Running

People run red lights for various reasons, including speeding or trying to save time. However, red light running is a traffic law violation and can result in injuries, accidents, and even fatalities. Today, people have either forgotten about traffic laws or simply just don’t care. People are likely running red lights for the following reasons:

  • Impatience: In today's fast-paced society, many people are accustomed to instant gratification and have less patience for waiting at red traffic lights. This impatience can lead some drivers to take risks, including speeding and running red lights to save time.
  • Traffic congestion: In heavily congested areas, drivers may feel pressured to keep up with the flow of traffic, even if it means running a red light. This behavior can become more common in areas where traffic signals are poorly timed or not properly synchronized.
  • Aggressive Driving Behavior: Some drivers exhibit aggressive behaviors behind the wheel, including running red lights as a form of asserting dominance or feeling excused from traffic rule
  • Perception of Safety: Some drivers may underestimate the risks associated with running red lights, either due to overconfidence in their driving abilities or a lack of awareness of the potential consequences.
  • Lack of Enforcement: In areas where traffic laws are not consistently enforced, drivers may feel empowered to run red lights with lower perceived risk of getting caught

 

What Caused the Spike in Driving Behavior?

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Now, more than ever, there seems to be a frightening sense of entitlement on the roads. From running red lights, changing lanes without taking a second look, and overwhelming emotions, there is a shift in behavior that wasn't there a few years back. The question is, how did we reach this point in our driving habits?

  • Cognitive overload: While driving, individuals deal with work-related concerns, stress, or plans for the day ahead, which could overwhelm their cognitive function and impair their driving.
  • Post-Pandemic behaviors: During the pandemic, people became used to fewer vehicles on the road. Some individuals may have felt a false sense of security due to the lighter traffic and engaged in more dangerous driving behaviors. As traffic returned to its regular pre-pandemic pattern, there was a level of readjustment that eventually caused traffic accidents.
  • Road rage: During the pandemic, stress levels hit an all-time high, and frustration was inevitable on congested roadways. When aggressive drivers are on the road and road rage is present, traffic accidents are more likely to happen.

Are you Participating in Dangerous Driving?

While you may consider yourself a safe driver who is capable of managing typical road situations, research indicates otherwise.

Studies show that understanding drivers' beliefs and perceptions of road risk is an important avenue to explore for the purpose of effective prevention (Brewer et al.,2007; Kouabenan, 1998, 2002)

It is the perceived risk associated with specific situations or behaviors that determine if an individual engages in risky behavior. Many studies showed that individuals who overestimate their abilities tend to perceive risks as low (Causse et al., 2004; Chaurand and Delhomme, 2013; Delhomme, 2000; Morisset et al., 2010). Road Safety Behaviors: Role of Control Beliefs and Risk Perception- ScienceDirect

 

You Have the Power to Make Smart Driving Decisions

It is your responsibility when you are behind the wheel to make smart decisions that keep both you and those around you safe. Your only job when you are behind the wheel is to drive! Commit to driving, plan your route before you get on the road, allow extra time, and leave your emotions at home.

At SWARCO McCain, our commitment extends beyond advocacy. We're at the forefront of developing traffic solutions that enhance road safety and promote mobility. Technologies like our traffic management system solution are critical in minimizing congestion and reducing opportunities for reckless driving incidents and traffic deaths.

 

 

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