Too often we go through life with the belief that our actions are too small to make any difference at all. What we fail to realize is the impact a simple action can have. Like tossing a tiny pebble into a still body of water, each action we choose to make creates a ripple. Even the smallest of actions can have incredibly large consequences.
Each year 127,127 car accidents occur in Pennsylvania: resulting in 80,004 injuries and 1,718 deaths. In most cases the actions of a driver, whether intentionally or accidentally, provoked an accident. While these statistics may seem despairing, there is a silver lining. 808 of the 1,718 deaths that occur per year can be completely prevented in a few simple actions. With just four small safety precautions, every Pennsylvanian has the power to save two lives a day in a matter of seconds. What are these four safety precautions?
1) Buckle Your Seat Belt
Every year 413 deaths are caused as a result of an unbuckled seat belt. This is an incredibly disheartening statistic considering that one of the largest causes of car accident related fatalities could be completely prevented in a matter of seconds. It doesn’t take any effort at all to grab your belt and buckle it in before driving. This applies not only to the driver, but everyone else in the vehicle. A car should not start moving until everyone has their seat belts fastened.
2) Stay Away From The Wheel After Drinking
Directly under buckling seat belts are DUI related accidents which produce an estimated 306 deaths per year in Pennsylvania. Driving under the influence impairs your vision, your coordination, and your reaction time, which leaves you an accident waiting to happen. It’s not difficult to hail down a cab or call an Uber if you’ve had a few to drink. The lives you’ll save are worth far more than the fair you’ll pay to hitch a ride home.
3) Put Food and Phones Down
There are a profusion of possible distractions that can keep us from maintaining our eyes on the road. Distractions like eating or texting behind the wheel cause 66 deaths a year in Pennsylvania. Your texts will still be there after your drive and so will your food. If neither can wait, it’s much better to pull into the nearest parking lot to text or eat than to continue driving and place lives at risk. If you end up in an accident you may never be able to text or eat again.
4) Slow Down In Construction Zones
Construction workers place their lives in jeopardy on a daily basis. Each year 23 road workers are killed by vehicles driving driving faster than the required work zone speed limit. All of us have somewhere to be, but reducing your speed by 10 or 20 miles per hour for a small stretch of your commute won’t make or break your arrival time.
When Will We Learn?
All of these precautions are mindbogglingly simple and yet so many Pennsylvanians fail to take them. Pennsylvanians fail to recognize that their actions behind the wheel can have dire consequences. It’s important for all of us to be cognizant of our behavior on the road. With just four simple actions we can save two lives a day.