We’re looking back at road safety issues from the past twelve months and looking ahead to 2023.
Here are the road safety headlines from the past year.
Traffic Volume on the Rise Since Covid
The pandemic led to a serious alteration of normal driving patterns, particularly in terms of traffic volume. According to data from the Federal Highway Administration, U.S. traffic volume is now back to where it was pre-pandemic.
Traffic Fatalities Decreasing
With traffic volume increasing, you might expect fatalities to also increase, but the good news from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is that fatalities actually decreased slightly. In 2020, traffic fatalities were at their highest since 2007. In 2022, fatality rates decreased significantly.
The following data summarizes traffic fatalities from 2007 to 2022.
The Covid Effect: Drivers Exhibited Riskier Behavior
Why were there more accidents in 2020 when traffic volume was relatively low? An analysis of 2020 fatality data from the NHTSA found that drivers who remained on the road during lockdown “engaged in more risky behavior, including speeding, failing to wear seat belts, and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Traffic data indicates that average speeds increased throughout the year, and examples of extreme speeds became more common, while the evidence also shows that fewer people involved in crashes used their seat belts.”
In other words, risky behavior such as not wearing a seat belt, driving under the influence, and speeding are associated with more car accidents and more traffic fatalities.
Cyclist and Pedestrian Fatalities Continue to Increase
In 2021 there was an average of 20 pedestrian deaths every day, the most pedestrian deaths in 40 years, according to data from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA).
In 2022 (as compared to the first half of 2021), fatalities increased:
8% among cyclists
2% among pedestrians
The GHSA says that the increase in pedestrian deaths is due to higher rates of speeding, impaired driving, and distracted driving in recent years.
Anxiety and Road Rage are on the Rise
According to a 2022 study, 87% of teens are anxious about driving after years of living through a global pandemic.
Similarly, road rage, also known as aggressive driving, has increased in recent years. Experts cite pandemic-related stress as a reason for the prevalence of road rage. Road rage behaviors such as speeding, following too closely, and intentionally bumping another vehicle have been linked to more than half of all traffic fatalities.
Road Safety Tips
With traffic volume back to where it was pre-pandemic, it’s important to know how to drive safely and defensively. Drivers ed is an excellent way to learn the rules of the road that have been proven to reduce the odds of getting in a car accident.
Follow these road safety tips every time you get behind the wheel:
Wear your seat belt.
Never drive if you have been drinking or taking drugs.
Don’t drive when you are fatigued.
Pay attention. Never text and drive.
Be respectful of other drivers. Never drive aggressively.
Obey road signs signals.
Don’t follow other vehicles too closely.
Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle.
Master essential driving skills with drivers ed.
DriversEd.com will teach you what driving habits to develop and which ones to avoid to keep you and others safe on the road.
Take Drivers Ed Online Today!