The summer driving season kicks off next weekend, which is Memorial Day weekend, and before you hit the road, new numbers out show some alarming stats when it comes to Georgia roads.
According to the Georgia Department of Transportation, 424, or 25 percent more, people have died in Georgia in the first three months of 2015. At that rate, 1,200 people will die this year, making 2015 the first year to see increases in nine years.
79 percent of fatalities could be the result of driver behavior, such as distraction, not wearing seat belts, impairment or speeding.
60 percent of fatalities are single-vehicle crashes.
In addition to texting and driving, Insurance Agent Melissa Gordon explains seven other unsafe habits to avoid:
1. Grooming – Pressed for time, some people conduct grooming activities in the car, such as putting on makeup or using an electric shaver. Do yourself and other drivers a favor by completing your morning routine at home.
2. Eating and drinking – Your steaming cup of coffee spills or ingredients slip out of your sandwich – any number of distractions can arise when you drive and dine. Stay safer by saving the refreshments until you’re parked.
3. Monitoring passengers – In a recent survey, 40 percent of drivers indicated that attending to children in the backseat was very distracting, while 53 percent of drivers said the same thing about having a pet in their lap while driving. Passenger distractions are particularly important for teen drivers to avoid: The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and State Farm teamed up to analyze a sample of 677 teen drivers involved in serious crashes. The study found that drivers who had peer passengers were more likely to be distracted before a crash as compared to teens involved in accidents while driving solo.
4. Rubbernecking – Slowing down to look at a traffic accident could cause an accident of your own. The same thing goes for lengthy looks at billboards, a street address or a great mountain view.
5. Listening to music – Playing your radio at a high volume, wearing headphones or even catching a glimpse of your kids’ DVD take your focus away from the road. These distractions reduce the likelihood you’ll hear car horns, emergency vehicles or other key noises.
6. Daydreaming – If you’ve ever realized you just missed an exit because you weren’t paying attention, you’ve experienced a common distraction: daydreaming. Resist the urge to drift off while driving, and keep your attention on the road. Vary your typical driving routes. A change in scenery and traffic conditions could help you stay alert.
7. Nodding off – According to the National Sleep Foundation, an estimated 60 percent of Americans have admitted to driving while drowsy, and 37 percent have nodded off behind the wheel. If you feel sleepy, pull over. Walk around to rouse yourself, switch drivers or find a safe place to nap before you resume driving.