The Rhode Island Department of Transportation has released some alarming findings. In the first six months of 2017, fatalities due to car accidents totaled 39, up from 23 during the same period in 2016. That’s an increase of 70 percent!
There were a total of 53 traffic deaths in Rhode Island during the entirety of 2016, compared to only 45 during 2015. Despite these statistics, Rhode Island does tend to have fewer fatalities caused by traffic accidents than the rest of the nation.
So is this year’s increase merely an aberration, or can it be chalked up to any particular issue? Authorities are unclear, but say that distracted driving, aggressive driving, speeding, and failure to use seat belts all were contributing factors in this year’s toll so far.
Preventing Car Accidents
Especially with road-trip and summer-party season in full swing, it’s worthwhile to review some of the ways you can prevent an accident, fatal or otherwise. If you are involved in a crash, however, a Rhode Island car accident lawyer can advise you as to whether or not to pursue legal action.
Don’t Get Distracted
Put away your cell phone! Of course, it’s tempting to check your texts, retweets, Facebook messages and even your directions while you’re behind the wheel, but resist that temptation. If necessary, turn your phone off during a trip, or stash it in the backseat or trunk so there’s no chance you’ll reach for it.
Use your car’s GPS system for directions. If you must use your phone, activate voice commands, turn your volume up, and toss your phone out of reach.
Stay Sober, For Everyone’s Sake
We all understand the dangers of driving while intoxicated. And yet people still do it, every day; people are still killed by drunk drivers, every day. Don’t think that you’ll be able to judge if you’re too drunk to drive. If you even question it, have a friend give you a ride, or call a ride-sharing service or taxi. Better yet, arrange for a DD ahead of time, or simply don’t consume any alcohol at all if you need to drive yourself home later.
Calm Your Road Rage
Driving comes with many stressors, and other drivers’ stupid actions can induce anger in even the most mild-mannered people. If you have a quick temper, however, teach yourself some ways to keep your cool behind the wheel. Meditation, deep breathing exercises, or even soothing music can all help you stop and think before you do something dangerous. Adopt the mantra “drive and let drive” — don’t feel it’s your job to teach bad drivers a lesson.
Wear Your Seatbelt
This one should be a no-brainer. Buckle up each time you get in the car, no matter how short the trip.
Stick to the Limit
The speed limit, that is. These numbers are not arbitrary, nor are they a “suggestion.” Speeding not only increases the chances of an accident, but it makes accidents that much worse. So, keep the pedal off the metal.
Follow these tips for a safe and fun summer season on the Rhode Island roads!