By Ethan Kispert
In the city of Phoenix, automobile accidents are one of the leading causes of death. According to an Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) crash report, car accidents accounted for a staggering 586 total fatalities and 46,858 total injuries in urban areas. This number accounts for over 50% of the total fatalities for the state of Arizona in 2019. These numbers also represent a slight increase from the ADOT’s 2018 numbers of 562 total fatalities and 43,513 injuries.
Winter traveling tips
As the winter and spring months kick into high gear, many Phoenix residents like to travel north. However, drivers heading north need to be careful and watch out for treacherous conditions at higher elevations. Accidents are oftentimes caused by drivers who simply aren’t accustomed to driving in various road conditions and may not have the right equipment on hand.
ADOT has a number of handy tips to help ensure drivers stay safe while on the road:
• Slow Down and Leave Extra Room: Adjust your speed to conditions. Driving slower and leaving space between your vehicle and others when snow and ice are present can improve your ability to brake and prevent skids.
• Leave Prepared: Dress for cold weather, bring extra clothes and gloves, be sure your cellphone is charged, and pack food, water and necessary medications. Make sure your vehicle is in good working condition, starting with the battery, heater/defroster, wiper blades, wiper fluid, and brakes.
• Pack an Emergency Kit: For starters, take blankets, a flashlight, an ice scraper, a small shovel, a container of sand for traction, a reflective vest and hazard lights or reflectors in case your vehicle becomes disabled.
• Beware of Black Ice: Black ice tends to form at night when melting snow freezes and is especially common on bridges.
More tips can be found at azdot.gov/KnowSnow.
For drivers who do most of their commuting in metro Phoenix, there are some things to be aware of as well as some quick tips to remember while on the road.
• Don’t speed.
• Don’t drive while under the influence of alcohol or other substances.
• Don’t text or make phone calls while driving (you can now be fined).
• Make sure to slow down through hazardous areas such as in constructions zones.
According to the City of Phoenix, the following are the “Five P’s” or basic principles for effective driving:
• Perception: Perceive the complete picture of what is ahead by rotating your eyes 180 degrees, looking to the horizon and scanning from side to side.
• Planning: Go through various driving situations in your mind and think through “escape route” options to prepare yourself before unexpected hazards.
• Prevention: Practice defensive driving and be ready to prevent a crash by adjusting to the other person’s mistakes. Give yourself time to react so that you can remove yourself from another driver’s distraction.
• Publicity: Indicate your driving intentions early enough so other drivers have time to react to you. Make eye contact when possible. Avoid sudden movements and be as visible as the situation requires by using turn signals.
• Proper: Proper attitude is very important in safe driving. Many crashes are caused by bad decisions influenced by anger, speed and frustration. When emotions run high, recognize and avoid any tendency to forego safe driving practices.
More tips can be found at focusondriving.com/content/make-2020-year-safe-driving.