Safe Communities: Make safe driving your New Year’s resolution

By Anna Edwards Dec 30, 2015

It’s hard to believe 2015 is already over.  New Year’s is a time for reflection, celebration and planning for the coming year.  Traditional resolutions tend to revolve about health, wealth and relationships.  Safe driving doesn’t make most people’s list, but it should.

Safe driving will not only keep you safer on the road this year, it could help you with other goals like saving money.  Many insurance companies offer discounts for customers with asafe driving record.

Here are some suggestions on how you can make safe driving a priority in the New Year.

  1. Never drink and drive.Over 10,000 people died in drunken driving car crashes in 2013. If you plan on drinking, make sure you have a designated driver, hand your keys to someone you trust, or call a cab.
  2. Never use a phone behind the wheel. In 2013, 3,154 people died in crashes related to cell phone use or texting while driving. Put your phone down or pull over to use it. If you can't control the urge to use your phone, find an app to block the phone from being operated while driving or put your phone somewhere you can’t reach it like the trunk.
  3. Drive the speed limit. Speeding is a factor in about one-third of all fatal crashes. According to NHTSA, a crash on a road with a speed limit of 65 mph or greater is more than twice as likely to result in a fatality than a crash on a road with a speed limit of 45 or 50 mph and nearly five times as likely as a crash on a road with a speed limit of 40 mph or below. In addition, when you crash at high speeds, air bags and safety belts cannot protect occupants to their maximum benefit because of the force, so injury levels become severe.
  4. Always buckle up. New research has found that nationwide seat belt use is at 87 percent, an all-time high. However, the other 13 percent—an estimated 27.5 million people—still need to be reminded that seat belts save lives. Remember, wearing a seat belt is the single most effective way to save your life and the lives of your loved ones while on the road in 2016.
  5. Yield to pedestrians and bicyclists.  Drivers need to be especially diligent around crosswalks and remember to look both ways for bikes even on one-way streets. Likewise, pedestrians need to be aware of their surroundings, not walk distracted, and wear bright and/or reflective clothing.
  6. Always use a proper car seat.Children under age 9 should be secured in a proper car seat and all children younger than 13 should be in the back seat.

Anna Edwards is the grant coordinator for the Safe Communities program at Wyoming Medical Center. She has more than 10 years of experience in nonprofit program development and management. She is the mother of a very active toddler. When she’s not running after her daughter, Anna spends her time reading, gardening and managing her growing obsession with yarn. Email her at aedwards@wyomingmedicalcenter.org or call (307) 577-7904. 

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