Share With the Drivers You Know

June 20, 2017

What is the advantage to running a red light? Does it really make that big a difference for your arrival time at the desired destination? In fact, running the red light could land you or someone else at their “final destination.”

Do you get nervous when you can see the person in the car behind you on “your tail?” Whether the cause is someone on a cell phone or texting or someone just simply in a following too closely, distracted driving and following too close is a major cause of motor vehicle crashes. Does following that closely make your trip any shorter?  

Are you a weaver and darter in and out of traffic, especially on the highway? Do you travel way beyond the speed limit? Do you pass in no-pass zones? Again, the question arises, what advantage does this create for reaching your destination if your driving behavior causes an accident?

Do you wear your seatbelt (and if you have children, are they in a proper car seat?) Data overwhelmingly has demonstrated that seat belts save lives when used properly. And it goes without saying, drinking and driving are never acceptable.

Motor vehicle crashes are caused by carelessness, impaired or distracted drivers, faulty operation of a vehicle or failure of vehicle equipment. Motor vehicle crashes can be prevented.

Consider these CT statistics from the Department of Public Health

  • Accidents, including motor vehicle crashes, are the leading cause of death for ages 15-44 (2014 CT Department of Health data.)
  • In 2014, there were 96,574 motor vehicle crashes, with 22,796 injuries and 234 fatalities in CT. (CT Department of Public health data)

Those numbers do not include the thousands of Emergency Room visits and hospital stays due to motor vehicle crashes.   

Data doesn’t always hit home or convince you to change your driving habits. But a traffic accident will cause you to stop and think about your driving behavior. Even if you were lucky enough to be in a motor vehicle crash and escape without bodily injury, you can lose your license or your car and it is likely that your insurance rates will go up. Don’t wait to practice safe driving until you are in a motor vehicle crash.

It is not that hard to reduce the number of car crashes. Slow down, obey the traffic laws (including those on cell phones and texting), keep a safe distance between you and the vehicle in front of you, wear your seatbelt and do not mix alcohol with driving. These actions will prevent a great number of injuries and deaths caused by motor vehicle crashes.   

You may not be the one to drive recklessly. But you may know someone who does not follow traffic safety rules. Perhaps you could leave this column in a noticeable spot. Or if you are a passenger in a car where the driver is not following safety rules, speak up and say something. The life you save may be your own.  Quinnipiack Valley Health District serving residents in Bethany, Hamden, North Haven and Woodbridge, wishes you a safe summer. Call QVHD, 203 248-4528 or request on line, dculligan@qvhd.org for information about health topics. Visit our website, www.qvhd.org where you can link to our Facebook and Twitter.