Motor vehicle collisions can be expensive and traumatizing if victims survive them. They can also claim lives, leaving loved ones shocked by the sudden death of someone dear to them. In Mississippi, as throughout the United States, car wrecks are a leading cause of death.
People of all ages, ranging from infants in car seats to the elderly, are at more risk inside a motor vehicle than they are in most other locations. The factors that contribute to crash risk include vehicle maintenance and weather, as well as the skill of individual drivers and the behavior of people in traffic.
Some of those factors are outside of people’s control, but others are possible for individuals to account for and minimize. The three factors below are all under an individual motorist’s control and have a strong association with increased fatal crash risk.
Alcohol and drug impairment
A surprising number of people believe that they can drive safely while under the influence of mind-altering substances. They may believe they have developed a tolerance or the skill to drive while impaired because they do so frequently. Even if someone has driven after enjoying a few too many beers with friends multiple times without incident. It only takes one mistake at the wheel for an individual to break their perfect safety streak and potentially cause a crash that claims someone else’s life.
People at the wheel have always had distractions demanding their attention when their focus should be on the road ahead. Conversations with passengers, food and now mobile devices can all make it quite difficult for people to keep their focus at the wheel. Distraction increases reaction time and affects someone’s ability to notice and respond to serious safety concerns in traffic. Distraction is the underlying cause of thousands of traffic fatalities each year.
Safety restraint use
The other two issues have to do with because of a crash, but the final factor on this list has to do with the outcome of the collision. In Mississippi, fewer people report consistently using their seat belts in a vehicle when compared with the rest of the country. That unfortunately is a contributing factor to the number of fatalities that occur in traffic. 50% of Mississippi collision fatalities involve someone not using proper restraints at the time of a wreck. Committing to always wearing seat belts into having every passenger use them as well can go a long way toward reducing the likelihood of a collision proving fatal.
The more safety-conscious someone is at the wheel, the greater their chances of consistently arriving at their destination without incident. Avoiding factors that increase crash risk or worsen the outcome of collisions can improve the overall safety of those on Mississippi roads.