Driving to work, to school, to get the kids, it always seems like everything is somewhere else and the only way to get there is in a vehicle. There is an element of risk when someone gets behind the wheel, though.

The risk of an accident is always present for a driver. From fender benders to catastrophic collisions, individuals not taking safety precautions while driving put themselves and those around them in danger. This is true nationwide of course, but recently the citizens of the Midwest, specifically in Minnesota, have seen several roadway tragedies.

Avoidable tragedies

According to Insurance Journal, Minnesota officials recently stated that over 300 people have died in traffic accidents as of late October. This marks a 17 person increase versus the same time last year. While this is only a small percent increase, any number of people losing their lives in avoidable car accidents is too many.

These accidents are specific to Minnesota, but accident trends stretch across the country. Insurance Journal’s report cites the circumstances of the fatal accidents, they include:

  • 195 other motorists
  • 58 motorcyclists
  • 29 pedestrians
  • 14 “other” motorists, such as ATV riders or farm equipment operators

Drunk driving was also linked to almost a third of the accidents, making it the largest contributing factor to these unnecessary tragedies.

The responsibility is on everyone

Lowering the number of accidents each year is a responsibility of every driver. Motorists can make their commutes and other travels significantly safer by simply adopting small changes to their driving habits. These include:

Never drive under the influence – As stated above, intoxicated driving is one of the biggest contributing factors to fatal accidents. After a night out, be sure to get a ride with a friend or call a ridesharing service or taxi.

Do not speed – Paradoxically, speeding actually saves very little time which is usually negated by a single red light or minor traffic anyway. Speeding reduces driver reaction time and ramps up the severity of accidents – don’t do it.

Use turn signals – A shocking number of people neglect to use their turn indicators despite the fact that not using turn signals contributes to nearly 2 million accidents each year. This is a tiny action that would make a massive difference to road safety

Allow buffer time – Drivers should always allow an extra 2 to 4 seconds of buffer time between vehicles and before taking actions such as changing lanes. They should never presume that other drivers know they are there or what they’ll do.

These actions would have a meaningful impact on road safety if every driver adopted them. Take some extra time on the road, it could save a life.

The holidays are quickly approaching and road trips to see family are right around the corner. Stay safe out on the roads; drive sober, don’t speed, use signals and give other drivers time to realize what you’re doing.