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5 Important Road Safety Statistics You Should Know

Driving can be a liberating experience. For some it’s just about getting from A to B; for others, it’s a relaxing and fun experience they love to do whenever they can.

Whatever kind of driver you are, safety is arguably the most important aspect of driving. From high-speed collisions to being stranded in freezing cold weather, driving brings along with it many potentially fatal dangers. Here’s a list of statistics to put it all into perspective and we’ll also look at how safety can be improved over the next few decades.

1. Motorcycle Helmet Laws Drastically Reduce Fatalities

The World Health Organization (WHO) concluded that you’re 42% less likely to die in a head-on collision on a motorcycle when you’re wearing a helmet than when you’re not. You’re also 69% less likely to receive head injuries.

When, in 2000, Florida changed its universal helmet law to allow for partial helmets, the number of deaths among motorcycle riders aged 21 years or younger almost tripled (CDC).

This makes a strong argument for stringent motorcycle helmet laws at the federal level.

2. Using a Phone Whilst Driving Increases Your Chance of Crashing by 400%

WHO research shows that using your phone you are four times more likely to crash your vehicle whilst driving.

Why is this? Paying attention to your surroundings and being aware of your actions is incredibly important, but if you’re concentrating on your phone more than anything else you’ll end up increasing your reaction time (the time to hit the brakes or swerve). That’s why in most countries using your phone while driving is strictly illegal.

3. Men Are Much More Likely to Be in Deadly Crashes than Women

A comprehensive study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that 73% of all road traffic deaths occur among males, with a large portion of them being under the age of 25. This goes against some commonly held myths about female drivers.

The most common causes of these deaths? Speeding, drinking, driving conditions, and unsafe driving are just a few.

4. Speed Is a Major Factor in Crash Survival Percentages

Many drivers speed on occasion (or sometimes whenever they get a chance). But did you know that for every 1% increase in speed, there is a 4% increase in the risk of a fatal crash (WHO)?

Hitting a pedestrian head-on at 40 mph is practically a death sentence. At this speed, car-to-car side impacts also result in an 85% risk of fatality too. Speeding also reduces reaction time and increases stopping distance. Speeding doesn’t look so cool when it’s put into numbers.

5. 1.25 Million People Die in Road Crashes Every Year

On top of this fatality number, according to the WHO, another 20 – 50 million people are injured or disabled in road crashes annually.

Most of these deaths occur among young adults between 15 and 40. If that isn’t a stark reminder that you must follow the road safety laws of your country or state, it should at least be a reminder that the consequences of bad driving will often be death.

6. Self Driving Cars Are Better Drivers

Waymo, which runs the country’s largest fleet of autonomous vehicles, has seen over eight million miles driven autonomously. The vehicles have been in a total of 24 crashes, with none of the crashes being considered by police to be the fault of the self-driven car, according to Curbed.

Right now, self-driving cars are being tested and put to the roads by dozens of autonomous vehicle companies, and so far, they’re doing pretty good compared to their easily distracted, fallible, and often-impulsive human road users.

Many of these vehicles have driven thousands upon thousands of hours, and the fatality rate has been extraordinarily low compared to the blistering rates set by humans. Until this technology is inexpensive and trusted, however, they won’t be on the roads for passengers to use too soon.

For now, though, car manufacturers work to make cars as safe as possible through better designs, materials, and testing. Even cars that have hands-free systems for making calls or messages are widespread on the market now — although there’s evidence this distracts drivers too. Many of the additional safety features being added to vehicles are semiautonomous versions of their self-driving counterparts, again pointing to a future with more safe autonomous vehicles.
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