Stop on Red Week 2021: Driving Safety

Every year, red light runners cause hundreds of deaths and tens of thousands of injuries, and #StopOnRed2021, created by the Federal Highway Administration, aims to educate drivers about the dangers of red light running and to reduce the number and severity of traffic crashes.But driving safety doesn't end with stopping at red lights, and it's something every driver should keep in mind every day—not just during Stop on Red Week.

No matter how skilled of a driver you are, it's a good idea to review driving safety basics from time to time just to be sure that you are keeping yourself—and other drivers and pedestrians—as safe as possible.Below are some basics to keep in mind any time you are operating a motor vehicle:

  • Stay focused and alert: Distractions like talking on the phone, texting, or eating make a driver less able to see and properly react to potential problems, and being sleepy increases reaction time to potential problems.
  • Drive "defensively": Driving defensively means always being aware of what other drivers are doing, expecting the unexpected, scanning your mirrors frequently, and keeping a 3-4 second cushion (or more, if the weather is bad) between you and the car in front of you—this gives you time to react.
  • Use turn signals: Although you can't always depend on others to signal their intentions while driving, you can control whether they have expectations for your actions.
  • Buckle up: Not only are you less likely to be injured in an accident if you wear your seat belt, but you can also be fined for failing to do so.
  • Follow traffic signals: Pay close attention to and obey stop signs and traffic lights, including slowing down for yellow lights and coming to a complete stop at red lights and stop signs.
  • Obey speed limits: The restrictions placed on vehicle speeds are carefully selected to maximize safety for both drivers and individuals in the homes, businesses, and other organizations in the areas where roadways are located.
  • Make adjustments for weather: Use extra caution when driving in less than perfect weather conditions, like rain, snow, or fog.
  • Never drive under the influence: Avoid operating a vehicle if you have been drinking, taking certain types of drugs, or are otherwise impaired.
  • Respect stopped vehicles: When passing vehicles stopped on the side of the road, move over to get out of the way if the next lane is clear; if that is not possible, at least slow down while passing the stopped vehicle.
  • Maintain your vehicle: Ensure that your vehicle stays in good working condition, including keeping fluids topped off, performing scheduled engine maintenance, making sure tires have plenty of air, and ensuring that the vehicles exterior lights are functional.
For more tips and resources on road safety, check out the National Safety Council's (NSC) Road Safety Topics page.Together, we can make our roads a safer place.
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