Have you ever caught yourself texting at a red light or going a bit too fast on the highway? We've all been there, doing things behind the wheel we're not exactly proud of or aware of. But here's the kicker: these bad habits can be dangerous and lead to catastrophic car accidents. It only takes one wrong move to result in a crash with serious consequences. That's why all drivers should set better driving goals in 2024 and beyond.
Study reveals the most common bad driving habits
A recently released study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety addresses the growing problem of bad habits behind the wheel. The study is based on the organization's 2022 Traffic Safety Culture Index survey results. In a survey:
- 41.2% of respondents were categorized as "safe drivers" and showed minimal risky behaviors.
- 15% of respondents, known as the "distracted drivers group," engaged in all forms of distractions.
- 22.7% of respondents were considered "speeding drivers" and exceeded the speed limit, both on highways and in residential areas.
- 17.3% of respondents were identified as "distracted and aggressive drivers" and combined both distracted and aggressive driving.
- 1.3% of respondents fell into the "impaired drivers category," primarily due to drinking and driving.
- 2.4% of respondents were categorized as the "most dangerous drivers group" and displayed all forms of risky driving behavior.
How can I set better driving goals for myself in 2024?
Arnie Kinsler, an instructor at the AAA Driving School in Danbury, Connecticut, has seen it all, including people driving at dangerous speeds and running through stop signs. He stresses the importance of safe driving habits to his students, most of whom are between the ages of 16 and 22. That includes ignoring impatient honkers and sticking to the road rules.
Gary Driscoll, another AAA instructor and a former cop, stresses the importance of knowing why each driving rule matters. He stresses the importance of keeping your eyes on the road and being aware of what's around you.
Common bad driving habits to break in 2024
First, to develop better driving goals for 2024, analyze your current habits. The most common ones include:
- Avoiding distractions: Everything from checking cellphone notifications to filming videos while driving causes serious distractions. In 2021, a staggering 3,522 people died on U.S. roads due to distracted driving. AAA suggests putting your phone on "do not disturb" mode and placing it somewhere out of reach.
- Driving sober: There is no safe way to drive while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Drunk driving alone has resulted in 13,384 traffic fatalities across the U.S. in 2021. If you plan on drinking, be sure to have a designated driver. Otherwise, consider getting a taxi or rideshare, walking to your destination, or staying at a friend or family member's house.
- Driving while alert: Drowsy driving significantly impacts your ability to stay focused on the road. It has resulted in 684 deaths across the U.S. during 2021. AAA suggests taking a break every 100 miles or two hours. Also, getting adequate sleep can prevent drowsy driving, even on shorter trips.
- Maintaining a safe speed: The greater the speed, the more likely you'll be involved in a collision. Plus, greater speed means more damage and potential for serious injuries. During 2021, speeding led to about 12,330 traffic fatalities in the U.S. Avoiding excessive speeding is simple; give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination and be aware of posted speed limits.
- Avoiding aggressive driving and road rage: We all get a little stressed out on the road, but don't let it influence how you drive. Remain calm and avoid engaging in road rage with other drivers. If another driver is aggressive toward you, ignore them and avoid eye contact. If they follow you, drive to the nearest police station and call the police.
Get legal help after a crash in New Mexico
While setting better driving goals helps protect you and others on the road, you can't always predict what other drivers will do. A serious crash can happen within a split second; the consequences can be devastating and long-lasting. If you or a loved one was hurt in a car accident in New Mexico, the Szantho Law Firm can help you fight for the financial compensation and justice you deserve.
Contact us online to set up a free consultation with our legal team. You can also call our offices in Albuquerque and Santa Fe. We want to learn more about your crash, answer any questions you have, and develop a legal strategy that is tailored to your situation.