By now, you’ve probably got all your resolutions figured out for the new year—you may have even already abandoned one or two as hopeless aspirations (chocolate is good for you anyway!).
But hang on a sec. The DMV’s got a few more for you to add, and we promise, these won’t be as hard to keep!
1. Always use your seat belt.
You can’t control what other drivers might be doing out on the road, but you can control your ability to stay as safe as possible. A seat belt is the single most effective way to protect yourself in case of an accident, says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In a particularly violent collision, a seat belt can stop you from being thrown from your vehicle—an almost always deadly circumstance. It is your first and best defense against bad drivers, drunk drivers and distracted drivers.
Buckle up, every time. Most crashes happen close to home, so don’t skip it on a short trip to the corner store. And don’t move an inch until everyone else in your car is strapped in, too!
2. Drive sober.
You may think you’re OK after one or two, but the impairment on your driving abilities starts well before you notice them yourself. After just two drinks, there’s a decline in your visual coordination. It’s only downhill from there.
With the myriad of options for getting around these days—plus the $10,000 price tag for the average DUI—why would you ever chance it?
It’s always best to plan ahead. If you know you’ll be attending a function with alcohol, do your best to figure out in advance how you’ll be getting home. If it’s a more impromptu imbibing, make sure someone there refrains from drinking in order to drive.
Or call a cab. Or use a ride-sharing service. Is your place far? Remember that other resolution to lose weight? It’s a lovely night for a walk (but make sure a sober friend walks with you!).
See? Plenty of options. Plenty of ways to avoid a stupid decision and make a smart one.
3. Never, ever, EVER text while driving.
Wherever you are right now, look around you. How many people do you see glued to their phones? In a world that praises multitasking and instant access, we’ve developed a bad habit.
Now, put that habit behind the wheel? It’s not only bad, it’s deadly.
Each year, texting while driving is responsible for approximately 330,000 injuries.
And yet a quarter of teens respond to a text message once or more every time they drive, according to a study from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. Even worse, a staggering 20 percent of teens and 10 percent of parents admit that they have extended, multi-message text conversations while driving.
In fact, phones in general, eating, drinking, grooming, using a navigation system, or any other distraction that keeps you from focusing on the task act hand—ahem, driving your car—can pose a risk to you, your passengers, and others sharing the road with you. Take the pledge at Distraction.gov to drive phone-free, and encourage other friends and family members to do the same.
Add these three road resolutions to your list for a safe and street-smart 2016!
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