Driving safety tips - Safe Roads Alliance

Drive Smart

While we must factor in roadway design and the size and safety of vehicles, human error accounts for a majority of crashes on our roads.

  • Motor vehicle crashes are the #1 cause of death for 16-24 year olds at 48.5%.
  • Nationwide, 43% of first-year drivers and 37% of second-year drivers are involved in car crashes.
  • Advanced driver training has reduced that rate to 4.6% of first-year drivers, as determined in a four-year study.



  • Get Advanced Driver Training for all ages
  • Smart driving position: hands at 9 and 3 o’clock
  • Speed appropriate to laws and conditions
  • Follow the 3-second rule (Watch Video)
  • Look as far ahead as possible
  • Know ABS (anti-lock braking system) operation
  • Drive a safe, well maintained car
  • If your car has an infotainment screen, use it only for navigation, not for ordering your coffee or checking the news
  • Drive a vehicle with a low center of gravity
  • If you are using your wipers, your headlights should be on as well


Avoid Distractions

  • Do not use cell phones while driving; pull over, if necessary
    Driving distractions are serious and have become an increasingly problematic issue, par-ticularly with the ongoing use of cell phones and blackberries. At the least, a cell phone conversation while driving takes away much of your attention. More serious, and recently with fatal consequences, is text messaging while driving. Texting not only distracts drivers from the mental processes required for driving, but it forces drivers to look away from the road, often for extended periods.
  • Music can be helpful to a driver, particularly on long journeys, however, it should be kept in mind that your focus is to be on the road at all times
  • Do not allow extraneous distractions such as eating, reading, applying makeup, texting, using a PDA or game console
  • Do not allow disruptive passengers to ride with you
    In addition, the combination of loud music and chattering passengers can take our focus off the road.
    Things happen fast while we’re driving, and keeping this in mind can reduce acci-dents and prevent the potential for tragic events that all too often occur due to driving distractions.

Wear a seatbelt

  • Ensure that all seatbelts are fastened for every passenger in the car, front seats and back seats
  • Wear your seatbelt:
    Seat belts save lives. You are less likely to be injured in a crash and will be better prepared to deal with an emergency situation if you are wearing your seat belt.
    If you need to take emergency action while driving, a seat belt can help to keep you better positioned behind the wheel so that you can more effectively maintain control of your vehicle.
    More information: buckleupamerica.org


Get all the facts and statistics for teen drivers.

  • The vast majority of teen crashes are due to inexperience. The more supervised time you spend behind the wheel when you have your learner's permit, the more experience you'll gain and the lower your risk of crashing.
  • GDL laws are in place in all 50 states because they help teen drivers to safely and gradually gain driving experience before they are able to drive independently.
  • Of those (teens) involved in crashes in 2000, 58% were speeding at the time of the crash.
  • 65% of teen passenger deaths occur when another teenager is driving.
  • Nearly half of the fatal crashes involving 16-year-old drivers were single vehicle crashes.
  • In the last decade, over 68,000 teens have died in car crashes.

Resources: Teen Driver Source and GDL Laws by state

Elderly Drivers

It's a reality of life. Our skills as drivers change as we age.

  • There are 30 million licensed drivers ages 65 and older in the United States. When injured in motor vehicle crashes, older drivers are more likely to die than younger drivers – underscoring the importance of older driver safety.
  • In 2008, older people accounted for 14 percent of all traffic fatalities and 18 percent of all pedestrian fatalities.

Issues Confronting Elderly Drivers

The ability to drive allows one freedom and control to do the things that enable independent living. However, for many of us, there will be a time when we need to make the decision to limit or stop driving.

For those elderly persons who drive, there remain many concerns. Changing physical conditions affect driving skills, including, slower reflexes, night blindness, medication and hearing impairment.

For the family and friends of an elderly driver, the concerns grow further. We want our loved ones to maintain a sense of independence, but we don’t want to see them hurt themselves or others in the process.

To better understand this issue, the following websites and groups provide comprehensive information on the challenges that confront elderly drivers:

In addition these are also helpful resources on this topic: the USAA Educational Foundation, AARP, and the National Highway Traffic Safety


Car Tips

Auto Maintenance

Scheduled maintenance of our vehicles over time ensures that you’re not only less likely to break down, but will have a safer ride overall.

Maintaining a Vehicle for Safe Operation

This is an issue that often takes a back seat through lack of time, finances or just plain denial. Scheduled maintenance of our vehicles over time ensures that you’re not only less likely to break down, but will have a safer ride overall.

Keeping your tires, brakes, and suspension systems in good condition can help you to avoid a col-lision and keep you free of injury.

The following websites are available to provide tips on keeping you and passengers safe while driving:

Keep Tires Up to Date

Check tread depth. Tread depth should not be less than 1/16 of an inch. Hint: use a penny. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, you need new tires. Keep tire pressure at recommended PSI (pounds per inch). Use snow tires in winter in areas where snow falls.

Tire Safety Tips


New Car Technology

There is an ever-increasing amount of safety technology in today’s cars. Features like automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, and forward collision warning keep us all safer, but only if they’re used correctly. It’s important to understand how these advanced driver assistance features work and their limitations. A key point is to remember these are driver “assistance” features and not driver “replacement” features.

The easiest way to ensure you’re using everything right is to carefully review your car’s manual. Read about any features that are new to you and make sure you know how they work. If you still have questions, then reach out to the dealership so they can explain. Once you understand the technology, share that information with your teen driver so they understand it, too.

Check out this website for additional information:   https://mycardoeswhat.org/safety-features/

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