It hardly needs saying, but there are many people who would argue against the fact that it isn’t more dangerous to drive today in comparison to 50 years ago because there are more safety features on a vehicle now than before. But a lot of people would say that there are a lot more external influences that can impact our ability to drive safely. So let’s try to answer the question if it is more dangerous than ever to be a driver?

The (Bad) Influences Of Distracted Driving

It’s something we never seem to learn, but you only have to scour social media for somebody to pour some scorn on a driver that’s spent more time looking at their phone than they did at the road. The NHTSA estimates that there are approximately 660,000 drivers being distracted while they’re on the road at any one time. While every state or government in the world is trying to do their bit to cut down on this, it’s not just texting that’s a culprit, loud music, eating and driving, and even distracted parents with screaming children in the back are all factors that contribute towards distracted driving. The potential for accidents now is much higher than it was before mobile phones became widespread. You’ve got to think that even looking down at your phone for a couple of seconds while driving at 40 miles an hour will have the potential to kill someone! You don’t want to be part of a major lawsuit due to reckless driving or distracted driving. The Denena Points lawyers website shows that they can prove that a driver was texting or using their phone by requesting records from the phone company to show the driver’s activity just before a crash. You can click here for that law firm’s website, but it’s enough to make you think twice about using your phone while driving because even if you were caught up in an accident, you can’t even deny it.

We Drive Too Fast

There appears to be two types of driver on the road. One drives too slow and the other drives too fast, and yes, one of them is obeying the speed limit! Is this your attitude towards driving? Do you think that people are driving too slow and are you always in a hurry to get somewhere? It seems that now due to increased traffic congestion that we are always in a rush to get somewhere. People have been cursed by the driver behind them for stopping at a junction! It seems completely ludicrous to some people that safety is a priority on the road! It’s no wonder there are more accidents on the road now than ever before, and it can be argued that with more and more access to cars this increases the amount of drivers. Which then increases the amount of traffic, which, in turn, creates much frustration between drivers. A lot has been talked about defensive driving and how it can help people in these circumstances, but the one big take away from it all is to have a bit more common sense on the roads, and unfortunately, it takes an accident for a lot of us to wake up in this regard!

Disregard For The Basics

If you were to take your driving test again, do you think you would pass it? A lot of us are quite open to the fact that we have developed bad habits over the years, and if you were to compare your driving skills now to when you just got out of that test center can you see any major differences? There are probably too many to count, and, yes, while your confidence on the road has improved a lot, you may have an over reliance on your knowledge of the road rather than the awareness of what is around you. Accidents always come out of nowhere, and there’s that cliche of a pedestrian “coming out of nowhere,” but in fact, we can prevent a lot of accidents if we spend a bit more time looking at where we were meant to be looking! A lot has been made about the fact that we as drivers don’t use our mirrors enough, and depending on where you took your driving test, in the UK you can fail for not using the mirrors enough. A lot of us don’t even have the mirrors in the correct positions. If we angled our wing mirrors out as wide as they could go it helps to reduce that pesky blind spot, as well as give us a more defined view of what is going on behind us. So repeat the mantra everybody, mirror, signal, maneuver…

Underestimating Stress

You may not even think that it impacts your ability to drive but stress and feeling tired have been shown to be as dangerous as driving drunk. They share similar traits, one being that your reaction times are severely impaired when you have a lack of sleep. And if you have a luxury car it may have a lot of comfortable features such as a quiet mode where you can barely hear the traffic outside. If you are in a comfortable car and you’re driving tired, this could be a recipe for disaster. It’s dangerous if you’re driving along a freeway after a long and stressful day. This is why there are so many accidents during rush hour traffic on the way home. The best remedy for this is if you are driving tired or feeling stressed is, very simply, take a break!

There are many factors that contribute to every single one of us being a dangerous driver, from using our mobile phones to driving too fast as well as ignorance of the basics. Combining that with the modern illness we called stress or an excessive workload which a lot of us are prone to means that we are all becoming a bit more reckless on our daily travels. So it’s time to reassess your skills and either get back to basics or take positive steps to readdress some of the issues in your driving.

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Emily Muelford

Emily is a British writer whose love of car culture is augmented by a fascination with both the European and American automotive markets. Her perspective is uniquely fish and chips.

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