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Speeding, Distraction, and Aggression Are The Most Common Dangerous Driving Habits

Senior man driving car during day while texting on a phone.

We see it every day: drivers speeding, using cell phones, and ignoring traffic signals. For many drivers, these dangerous driving habits are so habitual that they don't even realize they're engaging in them. However, it only takes one wrong move or misjudgment to cause a serious car accident. To address this issue, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety's latest report offers an analysis of risky driving behaviors in the United States.

What types of dangerous driving habits do motorists develop?

About 4 in 10 drivers fall into the "safe drivers" category. This indicates a widespread engagement in risky driving behaviors. The most common of these behaviors include speeding, distracted driving, and aggressive driving. Based on the annual Traffic Safety Culture Index survey, the report categorizes drivers into six profiles. Here are the figures from the survey:

  • Safe drivers (41.2%): These drivers reported the least engagement in risky behaviors.
  • Speeding drivers (22.7%): These drivers often exceeded speed limits. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported 12,330 deaths across the U.S. in 2021 that were linked to speeding.
  • Distracted and aggressive drivers (17.3%): Some drivers engaged in texting while driving, speeding, and aggressive driving combined.
  • Distracted drivers (15.0%): These drivers primarily engaged in distracted driving behaviors like texting. According to the NHTSA, this type of behavior caused 3,522 traffic fatalities.
  • Impaired drivers (1.3%): These drivers often drove while under the influence of alcohol. Drunk driving led to 13,383 traffic deaths in 2021, according to the NHTSA.
  • Most dangerous drivers (2.4%): These drivers engaged in all forms of risky driving behaviors.

The survey also sheds light on public perceptions regarding these behaviors. While most drivers perceive these behaviors as dangerous, a significant number admit to engaging in them. Notably, speeding is perceived as less dangerous compared to other behaviors, and this perception could be contributing to its prevalence.

Dr. David Yang, AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety President and Executive Director, often sees drivers engaging in dangerous driving habits despite knowing the risks. "Understanding the different types of risky driving behaviors and the characteristics of drivers who engage in them is crucial for developing targeted interventions to achieve safe mobility," he said.

How can drivers break dangerous driving habits?

The first step is recognizing and acknowledging that certain behaviors are dangerous. But breaking dangerous driving habits goes beyond awareness. Drivers have to put safer practices into action. Enrolling in defensive driving courses can help drivers refresh their skills and get a new start on the road.

Drivers can also set specific, achievable goals for themselves. This can include no phone use while driving, adhering to speed limits, or not getting behind the wheel after a night of drinking. In fact, AAA provides some valuable tips to help break these habits, including:

  • Putting your phone in "do not disturb" mode and out of reach.
  • Designating a sober driver, calling a taxi, or using a rideshare service such as Uber or Lyft.
  • Getting plenty of rest and taking breaks to avoid drowsy driving.
  • Obeying posted speed limits, allowing yourself more time to reach your destination, and using cruise control.
  • Avoiding aggressive driving and not engaging with aggressive drivers.

Injured in a crash? Let us help you explore your legal options

The Law Offices of Stuart L. Plotnick, LLC has seen the consequences of dangerous driving habits time and time again. No matter how safe you drive, the risk of encountering a negligent motorist exists. Our law firm has decades of experience representing crash victims and their families throughout Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia. We'll leave no stone unturned when investigating your car accident and ensuring that you're fairly compensated.

If you or a loved one was injured in a crash, we'll help you level the playing field against the at-fault party and their insurance company. To learn more about the legal options available to you, call us or contact us online and set up a free consultation with our legal team.

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