With the lockdowns across the country in 2020, several studies noted that even though there were fewer vehicles on the road, there was a sharp increase in accidents. Now, more people are heading back to work and school as re-openings gain traction.
However, it seems that the risk on the road is not disappearing.
Study: Traffic fatalities increasing at an alarming rate
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that 2021 has seen the largest six-month increase in road fatalities since 1975 – when the NHTSA first started analyzing road fatalities. So far this year, fatalities in car accidents are up 18.4% just from last year alone.
The NHTSA notes that higher rates of speeding and lower rates of wearing seat belts could be contributing to the rising risk.
It might be frightening – but do not panic
Hearing about studies like this can lead many people to worry. You know the road can be dangerous, but these statistics, and perhaps even your own experiences of seeing reckless drivers can significantly increase your anxiety.
However, it is important not to let panic control you, your decisions, or your behavior behind the wheel. You may not be able to control other drivers’ actions – or reckless behavior. Even so, there are ways you can improve your own safety.
What can I do to stay safe?
As the study reports, reducing this risk will require efforts from everyone. It is not just drivers who are responsible, but state and federal governments and a wide range of organizations. Of course, there are steps that drivers can take every day, such as avoiding distractions and not speeding.
However, you can also take more proactive measures and:
- Check your vehicle regularly to make sure it is in working order
- Be especially wary when driving in dark conditions
- Remain vigilant and assess your mindset before driving
- Commit to driving defensively
- Always follow traffic laws
Safety on the road starts long before you get behind the wheel. There are many other factors at play that are leading to a higher risk of fatal accidents, but you can reduce the chance of a collision on Tennessee roadways by taking these steps.