Driving is inherently a risky endeavor. According to a report from the New Jersey State Police Fatal Accident Investigation Unit, in 2020, over 38,000 individuals died in automobile accidents.
From the same report, New Jersey alone saw 550 fatal crashes, resulting in 587 deaths. In spite of the danger, driving is a necessity in many areas. Safe driving practices help reduce the risk, but many people fail to realize that simple, common actions they do without thinking may also contribute to the probability of an accident.
1. Eating and drinking
The culture of work and speed that permeates the nation means many individuals grab quick meals at drive-thrus on the way to and from work. In their haste, they may drive with a burger in their hand or glance away from the road to pick up a drink. The problem with this is that even the smallest distraction can result in an accident. It may seem harmless to unwrap your sandwich while driving, but it only takes an instant to go off the road or collide with another vehicle.
2. Wearing the wrong shoes
There are no designated shoes for drivers and no laws against wearing certain ones. However, footwear like flip-flops and high heels are not ideal when driving because they reduce the amount of force individuals may apply to brakes. If the heel gets caught behind the pedal or in the floor mat, drivers may lose valuable time in avoiding a wreck. In general, close-toed shoes present the least risk when driving.
3. Changing the radio station
This is another thing that only takes a few seconds, but which may lead to catastrophic consequences. In the short time a person fiddles with the radio, a crash can happen.
Even seemingly insignificant distractions are dangerous. Drivers need to focus on the road for their own and others’ safety.