Here in California, we have what lots of people consider ‘summer weather’ all year around, which tends to draw people in from all over. As a result, we have a lot of people on the roads, often resulting in some truly hair-rising traffic conditions. As it stands, California doesn’t really have the best track record for road safety: according to the annual road safety report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, there were 3,602 car accident fatalities in California in 2017. That translates to 9.1 deaths per 100,000 people! With all of the vehicles on the road, it’s especially important to stay safe on the roads. We’ve got some helpful pointers to make sure that you and your loved ones stay safe while on the road.
Make a Driving Schedule
If you’re traveling for an extended period of time, make sure that you rest. It’s recommended that you rest for about fifteen minutes every two hours or so, and to either switch drivers or call it a day after eight hours. If you’re feeling tired, take a break! If you drive while tired, your reflexes will be slowed, putting you in danger of not being able to brake fast enough; you won’t be able to think straight, so making the right choice at the right time will be much harder; and finally, paying attention to your driving will become much, much harder.
Know Where You’re Going
Is it truly a road trip if you don’t get lost at some point? While having to pull over and get out the map or (*gasp*) having to ask a local for directions might seem like nothing more than an inconvenience, if you’re unsure of where you’re going, you can find yourself making sudden turns to get to an exit or attempting to merge back into high-speed traffic from a standstill on the side of the road. Before you leave, make sure that you know exactly how to get to your destination, along with alternative routes (after all, summertime is prime road construction season). If you’re relying on a GPS or a cell phone for directions, make sure that you have an old-fashioned paper map handy, as well. If you have a breakdown or an unexpected dead battery, you’re still going to need to be able to get to where you’re going.
Age and Experience Are Important
If your teen is anxious to put that brand-new license or learner’s permit to good use, use discretion when deciding when and where they can drive. While they might have a lot of practice driving around town or to and from school, teen drivers generally don’t have the experience necessary to make the correct split-second decisions in a dangerous driving situation. Make sure that your child has plenty of experience driving around town before getting on the highway, and make sure that their first highway driving experience is as safe as possible. Rush hour traffic on I-4 is neither the best time nor the best place to introduce a teenager to the joys of interstate driving.
Wear a Seatbelt
Yes, they can be uncomfortable. Yes, they can be annoying. However, wearing a seatbelt can save your life–literally. According to the CDC, over half of the people killed in car accidents weren’t wearing their seatbelt. If you don’t wear a seatbelt, you run the very real risk of being ejected from your car during a crash, which gives you a 75% chance of being killed. Getting into a crash while wearing a seatbelt can result in some truly gnarly bruises, but trust us–it’s much better than the alternative.
ALWAYS Drive Sober
This should go without saying, but sadly, 1,391 California drivers were killed while driving drunk in 2017, and that doesn’t include passengers and other people killed by drunk drivers. That only includes alcohol-related crashes, not those in which drugs were involved. Driving while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol results in impaired judgment–period. Alcohol slows down the central nervous system, which is responsible for your coordination and reasoning skills. Drugs can, depending on the substance, affect your reflexes, logical reasoning, and memory. It’s just not worth it–if you’ve ingested either, get a designated driver. It can save your life and the lives of others, too.
Learn More About Driving Safely in Los Angeles
If you have been involved in a car accident, regardless of the cause, don’t despair–the law office of Lederer Nojima is here to help. We specialize in personal injuries, and we are here to represent you and make sure that you are not taken advantage of. Personal justice and proper compensation for our clients are our goals, and we strive to provide the best legal services we can to the Los Angeles area. Questions? Let us know! We will do everything in our power to get you the justice that you deserve.