You’ve probably heard some statistics about how driving is as a dangerous activity. The reality is that driving in itself isn’t dangerous. Humans make it that way. We’re not perfect. All of us make mistakes behind the wheel from time to time—some more egregious than others.
But instead of accepting this as a fact of life, you should do whatever you can to do better when behind the wheel. Here are five reasons why safer driving should be your New Year’s resolution.
Lower Your Insurance Payments
The monetary consequences around driving safer should really be secondary to saving lives. Then again, it’s hard for many people to conceptualize the actual risks to life and limb because they don’t think an accident will happen to them. However, most folks are well acquainted with increases to their monthly bills and how frustrating that can be. If you get into an accident or are ticketed by a police officer, your insurance rates could increase.
This is something very tangible that immediately gets people’s attention. Taking classes to learn safer driving skills can help lower your rates if you do get a ticket. People under the age of 21 can take a driver’s education course. Adults, and especially senior citizens, might be able to lower their rates by completing a defensive driving course.
You Should Want to Be Safe
Money isn’t the most important concern when thinking about why you should be safer on the roads. Driving is an inherently dangerous activity. Over 40,000 people died in car accidents in the U.S. in 2017. That’s about how many people it takes to fill a sports stadium. But a far greater number are injured every year—about three million. You should do anything in your power to reduce the risky aspects to driving. If everyone does their best, fewer people will find themselves as statistics.
Driving Conservatively Uses Less Gas
Defensive driving is one of the best ways to keep yourself and other people safe on the road. But it’s also a great way to save gas!
This is good for a couple reasons. First, saving gas is another way of saving money; which is always wise to consider. After all, what’s the point of searching for low APR car loans if you’re just going to blow your savings with your lead foot? Furthermore, using less gas is better for the environment. Keeping a consistent speed, as opposed to accelerating and decelerating continuously, will help you reduce your carbon footprint.
Other People Will Follow Your Example
The things you do on the road don’t only affect you. They also impact all the other people out there. If you’re driving recklessly, it’s putting other people in harm’s way. But there’s another aspect to this. Your actions will also play a role in determining how other people behave. Being overly aggressive will inspire other drivers on the road to do the same thing in retaliation.
However, if you’re safe and defensive, this will also lead other people to follow suit. You especially want to set a good example for younger drivers, who typically haven’t had time to develop good habits. New drivers who are 16 or 17 years old get into three times as many fatal accidents as adults. It’s important to show these young people how to be safe on the road.
You’ll Be Less Stressed Out
Being unsafe behind the wheel doesn’t just endanger you physically, it’s bad for your mental health as well.
Starting, stopping, weaving through traffic, and getting all pumped up about people not going fast enough are all going to make you stressed out. Just take a deep breath, slow down a bit, and pay attention to what’s happening in front of you. Driving recklessly doesn’t typically pay off with you getting places any faster. It just puts everyone in danger, while causing you to feel hectic. You also won’t need to get so much anxiety about tickets or accidents if you just take it easy.
It’s just not worth it to be unsafe behind the wheel. Whether it’s driving while texting, too aggressively, or while impaired, you’re just not doing the right thing. There are plenty of reasons why you should make driving safer a New Year’s goal.