These driving statistics aren’t meant to scare you. But most of us tend to get very complacent about our driving and we forget just how dangerous driving can be. I know that I’ve become very comfortable over the years driving. With so many people partaking in different forms of distracted driving, drunk driving, and other forms of dangerous driving behavior, I think we all need a wake-up call every now and then.
Revisiting the dangers of driving
While fatal driving statistics have continued to improve over the decades, driving our cars remains the single most dangerous activity we perform during the day. Since most people have been in a motor vehicle nearly every day of their life, driving or even riding as a passenger becomes incredibly routine to us. It’s almost silly that so many people are scared to fly, even though driving remains the number one cause of death in most age groups.
Chances of being involved in an injury accident
Get ready, because this is some scary stuff. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), two out of three motorists will be involved in an injury accident during their life!
Whether you are the one who becomes injured or not is another story, but that’s some eye-opening stuff. Two out of three? Geeze!
To add insult to injury (pun sort of intended), as a motorist you can expect to be involved in an accident once every 10 years. Even if you’re the best driver in the world, you can’t control other people’s driving. So once every decade or so, expect to be involved in a traffic crash.
How long has it been for you?
Oh, and I almost forgot… There is a 1 in 20 chance that the crash you have will involve a serious injury. Doesn’t that make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside?
Top 10 Driving Statistics Every Driver Should Know
While there is an endless amount of driving stats and facts, here are 10 stats that every driver should know.
1. Speeding Causes Most Accidents & Fatalities
Did you know that driving too fast is linked to the majority of all traffic accidents? About one-third of all traffic fatalities are caused, in part, due to driving too fast.
Speeding doesn’t just mean exceeding the speed limit. You can be speeding and driving too fast without ever going near the speed limit.
Drivers need to adjust based on different conditions such as snow and ice. Bad weather conditions are the main reason for reducing speed, but other conditions such as wet leaves on the road, an increase in pedestrians, blind curves, and other factors can require that you slow down well below the posted speed limit.
Always determine a safe speed based on ever-changing driving conditions, not based on how fast you are legally allowed to drive.
VIDEO: The Dangers Of Speeding
2. Many Licensed Drivers Would Fail The Written Driving Test Today
Some studies show that up to 40% of licensed drivers would fail the written driving exam if they were given it today.
The fact is, we forget many of the core rules and regulations when it comes to driving. This is one reason adult drivers are often encouraged to take defensive driving courses. Many insurance companies provide discounts for people who go through a traffic school from time to time. Most states also have programs where people can dismiss traffic tickets or reduce points on their driving record by taking a refresher course.
3. Car Accidents Cause Millions Of Permanent Injuries Every Year
The more you learn about these driving statistics, the more frightening it gets. This is one of the more scary stats.
Did you know that approximately 2-million people in the United States suffer permanent injuries every year?
We often hear about traffic deaths when talking about driving statistics, but seldom do we see the disturbing stats on how many people are injured.
If you do the math, over 5,000 people EVERY DAY sustain a permanent injury that they will never fully recover from due to an auto accident.
4. New Drivers Are The Most Dangerous Drivers
Teen drivers are responsible for the highest rate of traffic accidents. The first year after a teen obtains a driver’s license is the most dangerous. That’s why many states have adopted a graduated driver’s license program, where teens are gradually given more and more freedoms as they gain experience.
But does this mean we should raise the driving age? Probably not. The first year of driving is going to be dangerous no matter what age we start off with.
VIDEO: Teen Driving Statistics
5. Aggressive Driving Is A Real Threat
Road rage and aggressive driving is a very real threat in the United States. Some statistics state that over 60% of all traffic accident deaths are caused by aggressive driving. Male drivers between the ages of 19-39 are most at risk.
Aggressive driving incidents can usually be avoided by staying away from those drivers. All too often, road rage matches ensue and escalate to levels that weren’t intended in the first place.
6. Pedestrian Accidents Are On The Rise
Over the last 10 years, traffic fatalities involving pedestrians went up nearly 30%. Quieter vehicles and increased destricted driving has played a role in these increasing numbers. We are also sharing the road more often with bicyclists, joggers, and people crossing busy intersections.
While pedestrians have a 90% chance of surviving a crash at about 20mph, they only have a 50% chance at speeds higher than that. And let’s face it, most pedestrians struck by even a slow-moving vehicle will sustain long-term and possibly lifelong injuries.
7. Driving In Poor Weather Is Extremely Dangerous
If you can avoid driving in bad weather, always stay home or prolong your driving until the weather conditions improve.
Traffic accidents caused by poor weather kills more people annually that any other weather related death (flash floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, etc.).
It can take 10 times longer (or more) to stop a vehicle in snow or ice, and yet every year we see videos of major pile-ups because people were driving too fast and following too close. Learn more about driving in bad weather here.
8. Backing Up Can Be More Dangerous Than Driving Forward
Here’s a pretty crazy driving statistic… Each year about 250 people die due to a vehicle backing over them. Of that, over 30% are children under 5 years old.
With backup cams and blind spot warnings in newer cars, we can sometimes get complacent about backing up. I mean really, how many miles do you drive going backwards?
With that said, driving in reverse, when calculated on a per-milage basis, is far more dangerous than driving forwards. Always check your mirrors, be aware of your surroundings, and take your time when backing up.
9. Driving Is The Most Dangerous Thing We Do On A Near Daily Basis – Or Ever!
Since driving is such a common thing in our society, we often forget just how dangerous it is. But driving is likely the most dangerous thing you ever do, and most of us are in a car nearly every day!
Each day, another 3,000 lives are lost due to motor vehicle accidents. That comes out to more than 1,000,000 traffic accident deaths every single year.
You would think since cars are getting safer that this state would be improving, but it’s not. Traffic accident deaths since 2007 have been gradually increasing.
10. Places Crashes Are Most Likely To Occur
The vast majority of traffic accidents happen within 20 miles of someone’s home. That might be a more obvious statistic since that’s where the majority of their driving takes place, but let’s take a closer look at where traffic crashes are most likely to occur.
While the majority of the U.S. population live in urban areas, about half of all accidents occur in rural areas where only 20% of the population lives. This includes motorcycle fatalities which are higher in rural areas even though more traffic exists in urban areas.
Work zones are also a particularly dangerous area to drive with one work zone fatality for every 4 billion miles driving. That might seem like a big number, but when you calculate the sheer number of vehicles on the road, the number is pretty bad.
What can be done?
Well, the news isn’t all bad. Driving statistics from last year show that driving has never been safer. Every year, our roadways improve, our vehicles are better designed, and many people are beginning to drive less as well. But there are still some basic things you should consider doing to keep up with the latest safe driving techniques. Who says learning how to drive stops at the age of 16?
New Driver? Sign Up For The Best Driver’s Ed Course
Safe driving habits start early. The things teens learn in the beginning weeks and months of their driver’s education will set the foundation of their driving habits for life.
Don’t skimp out on taking a high-quality driver’s ed course. Most driver’s ed courses are priced about the same, so do your research and find a company with good instructors and good vehicles for behind-the-wheel instruction.
Many different online driver’s ed courses exist for both teens and adults. Check out this page if you want to learn more about the best online driver’s ed programs.
Top 4 Best Online Driver’s Ed Courses
Take a refresher course and save money on your car insurance too!
I know, I know, sitting through a driving course sounds like an awful idea. But what if I told you that you could do it online from the comfort of your own home – at your own pace? And what if I also told you that your insurance company might be required by law to give you a discount for completing a simple course right from your computer? Besides, it will make you a safer driver anyway. When is the last time you brushed up on your driving skills? If you’re interested, I highly recommend using this refresher course. Don’t forget to send your certificate to your car insurance company!
If you want to learn more about taking a defensive driving course where you live, choose your state below to get more info:
Have a safe driver mentality
Do you ever notice how some people tend to drive over the speed limit, roll through stop signs, follow too closely, or partake in driving distractions? Ever notice how you do it too? Ohhhh come on! You know you do!
The difference between motorists who never have an accident and drivers who contribute to the average driving statistics is mentality.
Safe drivers just drive!
Ignore your phone, concentrate on your own driving instead of the slowpoke ahead of you or the tailgater behind you and do whatever it takes to be as safe as possible. Mind you, taking aggression out on other drivers can be very fulfilling, but you are increasing your chance of an accident. As automakers do their part by making our cars and trucks safer, you need to do your part. That all starts with the right mindset. So, are you a safe driver or an average driver? Do you really want to take your chances with those driving statistics?
Please, be safe, drive safely, and don’t become yet another driving statistic.