Who hasn’t changed lanes without looking over their shoulder to check their blind spot? It seems like an innocent mistake, but it’s one of many driving mistakes that can cost someone their life.
Other risky mistakes are made out of convenience, like riding in the back of a van with no seats because you got invited to a concert last minute and there’s nobody else to drive you. When driving a car, convenience should never come at the cost of safety.
Distracted drivers kill and injure their friends frequently. Too often, those fatal crashes don’t just kill the driver. You don’t want to be responsible for an accident that injures or kills a friend. To prevent a tragedy, enforce the following rules at all times when driving with friends:
Don’t put up with texting drivers
Don’t get into the car with friends who like to text and drive. Likewise, don’t put your passengers at risk by using your phone while driving, either.
Lipsig Law reports that in 2013, New York saw nearly 304,100 car accidents. More than 41% resulted in serious personal injury; 1,109 were fatal. Many of those accidents were due to distracted driving, texting included.
When you’re the passenger, offer to be the driver’s personal secretary for the ride. If the driver doesn’t want to give up their phone, stop riding with them. When you’re the driver, give your phone to a passenger or turn it on silent.
Seatbelts are to be worn at all times
Wearing a seatbelt should be non-negotiable. Most states have laws requiring the use of seatbelts because they’ve been proven to save lives. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 47% of the 37,133 people killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2017 weren’t wearing a seatbelt. Also, seatbelts saved the lives of 14,955 people in 2017.
When you’re the driver, get your friends to buckle up before you start driving. Even if you’re in a parking lot, someone might hit you hard enough to eject someone not wearing their seatbelt.
When you’re not the driver, make sure the car you get into has a seatbelt. If you can’t buckle up, get out of the car. There might be situations that will make getting out of the car awkward. For instance, say you got invited to a party and your friends show up and someone you’ve never met is driving. All the seats are taken, and you’re expected to squeeze between two buckled passengers. This situation is common, but extremely dangerous.
You can be the party pooper and tell everyone you’re uncomfortable without a seatbelt. Or, you can pretend you forgot something in the house and when you come back out make up a story that your mom called and you’ve got to handle a family emergency.
This is sometimes the hardest rule to follow, but it will save your life.
Don’t get in a car with an intoxicated person
Drunk drivers kill more than 10,000 people each year and cause about $44 billion in damages. While you shouldn’t drive while intoxicated, you shouldn’t get into a car with someone who is, either. By agreeing to get into a car with someone who is tipsy, drunk you’re actually encouraging them to put both of you in a dangerous situation.
You may not realize that simply being in the car with an intoxicated person is enough for the courts to hold you personally liable for any property damage, injuries, and deaths caused by the impaired driver. For example, in 2014, two teenage boys allowed a female friend to drive drunk. The driver crashed into a tree and died. The boys were held criminally responsible for failing to prevent her from driving drunk.
When an intoxicated person is about to get behind the wheel, you have three options:
-Find a way to get their keys
-Convince them to take a cab with you
-Call the police and stall your friend. You might lose a friend, but they’ll still be alive.
Getting in the car with an impaired driver isn’t an option.
Stick to your principles
Your friends may not like it, but stick to your principles of safety. The first time your friends lose someone to a preventable car accident, they’ll understand and take you seriously.