Metro Detroit Mommy has written a lot about the importance of car seat safety. But that’s hardly the only thing you can do to keep your kids safe in the car.
When motor vehicles were invented, they changed the world forever. While we no longer have to walk or ride a horse everywhere we want to go, there are some downfalls too. Cars get safer and safer every day, but they are still incredibly dangerous machines. For instance, motor vehicle collisions are the leading cause of death and injury in the workplace, and the cost of a single accident could easily exceed $1.4 million.
As gloomy as that seems, there are fortunately many things you can do to keep yourself safe in the car every time to get behind the wheel. These tips are not only going to help you avoid car crashes, but they will help keep your body healthy too.
This tip may sound odd because most people only put on sunscreen when they’re going to be in the sun for hours. Well, you actually might be in the sun for a long time when you’re in the car. A study in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology found that roughly 53% of skin cancers in the United States occur on the left, or driver’s side, of the body. The sun’s ultraviolet rays come through your car windows and beam down on your skin every time you get in the car. Plus, current estimates say that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. Wear sunscreen if you plan to wear short sleeves the next time you get in the car to decrease your chances of developing skin cancer.
Not only does sitting incorrectly in the car increase your risk of getting seriously injured in a car accident, but it also increases your chances of developing back issues. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, nearly 80% of adults will experience low back pain at some point in their life. To avoid the back pain, experts suggest that the seat back should be angled back to the same degree that your spine arches back as it ascends out of your lumbar hollow. In general, you should adopt the same posture in the car as you would at a work desk. Avoid hunching over or leaning too far back. Both positions put extra pressure on your spine.
Keep an eye on the speedometer
This tip may be obvious, but there are many people who still drive way over the speed limit on a daily basis. Research shows that for every mile per hour you drive, the likelihood of your being in an accident increases by 4% to 5%. At higher speeds, the risk increases much more quickly. Even driving 10 miles per hour faster than the speed limit for a few minutes can increase your risk of a car crash by 50%. On long road trips, the time you save by driving faster is inconsequential compared to the risks associated with speeding. Take your time and stick to the speed limits.
Avoid following closely
Whether you’re driving in stop-go traffic on the highway or you’re closely following a slow-moving car on a country road, you should never get to close to the car in front of you. Unfortunately, most tailgaters don’t realize they have a tailgating problem!
For the record, experts suggest keeping at least a two-second cushion between you and the car in front of you. Increase that time to four seconds if the weather is bad. Another way to think of it is to keep one and a half to two car lengths behind the car in front of you, or three car lengths in bad weather.
Know Your Limits; Don’t drive drowsy
Finally, you shouldn’t drive when you’re tired if you can avoid it. A study conducted at Virginia Tech reported that 20% of all accidents have sleepiness as a contributing factor. If you’re tired enough to actually fall asleep while driving, you could drift off the road, crash into a tree or utility pole, or hit another car. Make sure you get a great night’s sleep and don’t get in the car if you’re tired.
Driving a car gives millions of people the advantage of fast travel. It puts millions in danger every day as well. Make sure you follow these car safety tips to keep yourself healthy and safe every time you get behind the wheel.
Amber is the proud Homeschooling mother to four beautiful children, Damian (24), Rosaleigh (10), Carlyn (7), Naomi (4), and a wife to her loving husband, Chancellor. Her family also includes three cats.
She loves being a stay-at-home mom and feels blessed to be able to care for her children full-time and provide them with so many opportunities through Metro Detroit Mommy.