Do we feel safe when we’re on the road now, or is every time we get behind the wheel anxiety-inducing? The concept of safe driving now appears to be a very loose term with the amount of accidents and fatalities we see on the road with every passing year. But is it everyone else to blame, or are we naturally getting worse at driving?

The Varying Factors

The first thing to address is that there is still a high rate of drunk driving going on all over the world, especially in America. If you look at this website, it says that nearly 40% of all fatal vehicle accidents in the state of Connecticut are related to alcohol. This is a very high statistic, and cannot be compared to if we are getting progressively worse at driving because drink driving is going to impair your skills no matter what. The other thing to think about that can impact your driving skills is the amount of distractions we have in our cars now. There is a lot more distracted driving going on now, this is down to the obvious culprit, the smartphone, but also the other things to think about would be loud music, playing with the radio or the GPS, or even eating while driving. Distracted driving is a worrying thing in the grand scheme of things, and this is simply because we think that we are skilled enough to warrant doing something else while driving.

Do We Blame Other People More?

This is something that occurs regularly on the road, it never appears to be our fault. So does this mean we don’t take responsibility for our actions ever on the roads? The fact is that if we are driving with a limited amount of knowledge, for example, just after we passed our test, we may feel that we are not very confident on the roads, and so we look to other drivers on the road and follow their example. This is, of course, a bad habit to get into, but we still follow their lead, and the more you do it over the years, the more you pick up bad habits. The fact is that it’s always easier to blame someone else on the road. Even if we know we are doing something wrong, like speeding. When we speed on the freeway, it’s usually because we’ve got our own selfish reasons, such as running late for work. So, as a result, we are much less reactive to what’s going on around us on the roads. So many drivers get abuse hurled at them for going the speed limit that it can cause more issues for the safer driver. And it shouldn’t be like this. We’ve all caught that passive aggressive look of someone overtaking us on the freeway when we are doing the speed limit, and this alone goes to show how many people prefer to blame others on the roads.

Are We All Tired Drivers?

As opposed to drink-driving or distracted driving, we can potentially get away with this much more. But this is just as dangerous, and it’s much harder to detect. And this is something that we all need to recognize within ourselves if we are too tired to drive. A lot of the time we have no choice, if we work busy jobs, or have to pick the kids up from school, or just have an overloaded social calendar. They say that tiredness is a bigger epidemic than it ever used to be. Once upon a time it was just truck drivers who drove for extended periods of time, now we all seem to be suffering from tiredness in one way or another. There has been research to suggest that 20% of accidents on main roads are related to a lack of sleep. And it’s not even on long journeys; there is a higher likelihood of an accident on a short journey. So looking at this in comparison to driver fatigue, it strongly suggests that our daily lives are to blame.

To answer the question if we are all getting worse at driving, there are so many different things that we need to think about. But the fact is that the modern world has provided a lot of distractions, and coupling this with our busy lives in addition to the increasing number of cars on the road, it isn’t much of a surprise that our skills have decreased in one way or another.

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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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