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 commuters

How safe is your commute to work? Could your travel route be dangerous?

Statistically, your daily commute is the most dangerous driving that you do. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration tells us that over half of all car accidents happen within 5 miles of home, and 69 percent of accidents are within 10 miles of home.

Part of the problem here is that familiarity breeds contempt. It's remarkably easy to become bored, driving the familiar route that we drive around 250 times a year. This is especially easy if you've got a long daily commute. We're all prone to letting our guard down, perhaps even more on the trip home, if the day at work has not gone well.

Happily, there are things that we can do to help reduce the dangers.

 

Put the Phone Away

  • Put the Phone Away Distracted driving is becoming an epidemic, and this epidemic is killing people. In 2014, accidents involving distracted drivers killed 3,179 people, and injured 431,000 more. Watching videos is probably the most dangerous distraction, but texting is much more frequent, particularly among young people. Even a hands-free phone call divides your attention. Other distractions include eating, setting a GPS, grooming, and adjusting the sound system. I've avoided more than one accident because I was able to react to another driver's error in less than a second, because I wasn't looking at the stereo or dividing my attention. Whatever it is, it will wait until you get there. If it just won't wait, pull off the road for the minute it will take to do. Hardly anyone has an accident while they're parked.

 texting while driving

Plan Ahead Change Your Tune - Take It Easy

  • Plan Ahead Don't get caught speeding in the morning commute because there were too many things to do this morning. Assemble the kids' lunches the night before, and choose your work wardrobe at the same time. This will give you time to iron that shirt if it needs it. With a few fewer things to do during the morning rush, you'll be less stressed, and a better driver because of it.
  • Change Your Tune Listening to classical music instead of what you usually listen to in the car has several benefits. It's likely to be more calming than talk radio or other genres of music, keeping your stress level low. It will also improve your brain function, according to the Mozart Effect study.
  • Take It Easy Aggressive driving mixes poorly with rush hour traffic, and can lead you into dangerous mistakes. It's not a race, and there's no trophy, so let people who want to go faster pass you. If another driver makes a mistake or intentionally does something that you know is stupid, you don't have to take it personally. It was probably not done with you in mind, anyway. If you see someone driving aggressively, it's usually not too difficult to give them room to get well away from you.

 speeding

In 2015, there were 32,166 fatal car crashes, killing 35,092 people. Driving intelligently and carefully, even on the daily commute, can help you avoid becoming a statistic for years to come.

 

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