Spring has arrived, and the warmer weather often prompts people in Rochester, Minnesota to hop in their cars for weekend (or longer) road trips.
Unfortunately, too many of those trips will end up being memorable for the wrong reasons, due to crashes and other risks that drivers face anytime they hit the road.
You can take control of your next trip, whether it’s across the state or across town, by following these simple rules:
1. Pay attention. Do you know how many drivers around the country are using cell phones or other electronic devices right now? If it’s daytime, the answer is approximately 660,000, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says. Anything that takes your eyes off the road or distracts you increases your risk of a crash. Here’s another reason to avoid distractions: If you’re completely alert, you have a better chance of steering clear of that guy who is shaving on his way to work.
2. Stay sober. One bad decision can change lives forever, and driving under the influence is an extraordinarily bad decision. Nearly 15,000 died in 2012 in crashes involving impaired drivers, according to the National Safety Council (NSC). So get a designated driver — or better yet, be a designated driver. Best of all, have the party at your house and let everyone sleep over.
3. Slow down. They say “speed kills,” and, as depressing as it sounds, it’s true. Crashes caused by excessive speed cause more than 10,000 deaths a year on average, the NSC says. Surprisingly, you are most at risk on roads where the speed limit is 55 mph or below. Remember, the posted speed limit isn’t always the best speed to travel. Depending on conditions, going slower might be the safest option.
Improving safety on the roads isn't rocket science. Just a little common sense can make a big difference for you, your passengers and your fellow drivers. So be alert and be safe out there on the roads in Minnesota.