While the number of fatalities from car and truck accidents across the U.S. has decreased in recent years, Florida still ranks very high in fatalities and injuries. In fact, in 2018 in Florida, there were 3,174 fatalities and 254,873 injuries from motor vehicle crashes, and in Orange County alone, 22,866 people were injured in car accidents
The holiday season is especially dangerous for Orlando drivers, but with 70 million tourists visiting our city each year (and many of them renting cars to travel to and from our theme parks and other attractions), any time of year can be perilous. That’s why taking safety precautions is important each and every time you get behind the wheel.
In this blog post, we’ll cover five safety tips for avoiding automobile accidents. Follow these tips and have a healthy, happy, safe new year.
Buckling your seatbelt is the most important thing you can do to protect yourself from being injured when you’re in an automobile. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), seatbelts are “the best defense” against dangerous drivers because they can prevent your being ejected from a vehicle or thrown forcefully into an air bag.
NHTSA data show that seat belts saved an estimated 14,955 lives in 2017 and could have saved an additional 2,549 people, if they had been wearing seat belts. Their analysis also indicates that if you’re in the front seat of a car, having your seat belt on decreases your risk of serious injury by 50% and your risk of a fatal injury by 45%. If you’re in a light truck, your risk of critical injury is reduced by 65%, and your risk of fatal injury is reduced by 50%.
With this in mind, why not make a resolution to always wear your seat belt in 2020? No matter what vehicle you’re in, where you’re going, or whom you’re with, always buckle up for safety.
Don’t Drive if You’ve Been Drinking or Using Drugs That Impair Your Ability to Think Clearly and React Quickly
We are all aware of the dangers of driving after drinking and the laws prohibiting driving while intoxicated. However, recognizing the immediate danger of driving after you’ve had one or more drinks at a bar, restaurant, sporting event, or party can be very difficult. That’s why it’s a good idea to have a designated driver or a ride with a ride sharing company arranged beforehand.
Every day in the U.S., approximately 30 people die in drunk-driving accidents. You don’t want to be one of the day’s 30, so don’t leave your safety to chance or get into a vehicle with somebody else who has been drinking or taking drugs that impair cognition, no matter how much they insist they are capable of driving safely.
The old saying, “better be safe than sorry” goes a long way here. Make 2020 a safe year: drive sober and don’t drive with anyone who isn’t sober
Don’t Drive When You’re Sleep Deprived
Drowsiness and fatigue can also impair cognition and performance and lead to serious accidents. Therefore, it’s important to try to get enough sleep every night, but especially before you go on a lengthy car trip.
If you are taking a road trip this year, safety experts recommend you avoid drinking any alcohol beforehand, drive during the day rather than during the middle of the night, and take a break from driving and rest if you start getting sleepy. Even if your “road trip” consists of a 10-mile commute to work or a 60-mile trip to the beach, getting enough sleep to be alert while driving can help you avoid being involved in a serious motor vehicle crash.
Avoid Your Phone and Other Devices While Driving in Orlando
Distracted driving can be as dangerous as drunk driving because when you’re distracted – by your phone, your navigation system, your climate controls, or your sound system, you’re not focused on safely operating your vehicle. Driving is a complex activity that requires your full attention. Any activity that distracts you, but especially those that involve taking your eyes off the road, increases your risk of having an accident.
This year, remember that safety comes first. Avoid text messaging, checking Facebook, or engaging in any activity that distracts you or forces you to take your eyes off the road.
Avoid Speeding and Orlando Speeders
Driving in Orlando is always stressful. Traffic is heavy, and tourists usually don’t know where they’re going but seem in a hurry to get there. Unfortunately, speeding, erratic lane-changing, and other dangerous driving behaviors are normal.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately one-third of all motor vehicle fatalities involve speeding, so the best thing you can do to increase safety is to try to stay calm, drive within the speed limit despite what other drivers are doing, and use defensive driving tactics to try to avoid collisions when other people are driving too fast. Safety experts suggest:
- Give speeding drivers a lot of space, since they can lose control of their vehicles more easily than other drivers.
- Change lanes safely if someone wants to pass or is tailgating you.
- Don’t compete with or try to outrun an aggressive driver.
Staying Safe on the Roads in 2020
We hope you and your family will follow the safety tips listed in this blog post when traveling in Orlando, throughout Florida, or out of state. We know, however, that no matter how safe you are as a driver, you can still be involved in an automobile accident because of someone else’s negligence.
If you or a family member is seriously injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence or wrong-doing, please call the Orlando auto accident attorneys at Malik Law at 407.500.1000, submit the “Tell Us What Happened” form on our website, or chat online . We’ll listen to what happened and advise you on your best legal option for free.
We’ve helped hundreds of Florida families fight for justice and get compensated fully and fairly for their accident-related damages and want to help you recover the full amount you deserve.
Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. (2019). Traffic Crash Reports: Crash Dashboard.
U.S. Department of Transportation. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. (2019). Risky driving.
U.S. Department of Transportation. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. (2019, 23 Oct.). Traffic deaths decreased in 2018, but still 36,560 people died.