Recognizing the biggest risk factors from your daily commute

The average person in the greater Birmingham area probably spends a substantial amount of time in their car every week. Commuting to and from work, as well as making trips for errands and the benefit of your family, can mean that you spend several hours every day behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.

Given that their use is so prevalent, the average person tends to ignore the risk that comes with motor vehicles. However, just because you don't think about the potential for a crash doesn't mean the risk suddenly disappears.

You want to be able to drive and get where you're going without worrying too much about the potential risks involved. The more you learn about the most common risk factors for a collision, the easier it will be for you to get where you're going safely while avoiding dangerous drivers or conditions.

Distraction is a leading risk factor

Since people spend so much time in their vehicles, it is common for drivers to try to fill their time and occupy their minds with something other than their daily commute. Distraction comes in many forms, from conversations with other people in the vehicle to mobile phones.

Even those worries about work or the daydream of what you will do this weekend could keep you from fully focusing on the safety requirements of driving. Alabama lawmakers are taking steps to change the law and promote better safety practices among local drivers. In the meantime, you can commit yourself to avoiding all forms of distraction, including eating at the wheel.

Impaired driving is another common risk

Most people readily acknowledge that driving after consuming alcohol, certain prescriptions or recreational drugs, are dangerous. Still, quite a few people do so every day. Committing yourself to staying sober at the wheel and keeping an eye out for risk factors that could indicate a nearby impaired driver, such as erratic driving patterns or swerving, could help you stay safer.

Speeding and other forms of reckless driving endanger everyone

When someone breaks traffic laws, they increase their own risk of a crash. They also endanger the people who share the road with them. Speeding is arguably one of the most common infractions of traffic law that people commit. Unfortunately, since it's so prevalent, not many people consider speeding a serious issue. However, it is a leading factor in a number of crashes.

Other forms of dangerous and reckless driving include frequently failing to use your blinker, running red lights, failing to stop at an intersection, racing on public roads or driving the wrong way down a one-way street. All of these choices drastically increase the risk a driver faces.

Inclement weather and failing to react to it are also risks

It isn't common for the roads in Birmingham to become icy or covered in snow. Rainy, slick streets are far more common and can occur during any season. Wet, slippery roads reduce your ability to safely maneuver and stop your vehicle.

The weather itself may pose less of a risk than most drivers' unwillingness to adjust their speed to reflect the current road conditions. Leaving earlier and driving more slowly when the roads are wet can help you and other people on the road reach your destinations safely.

Even when you know and acknowledge major risk factors, the potential still exists for someone to ignore those dangers and cause a major crash. If someone was clearly negligent or violated traffic laws in the moments leading up to the crash, you may be able to take legal action against the driver for property damage or personal injury you suffer as a result.

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