Safe driving habits can reduce the risk of North Carolina car accidents

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is urging motorists to practice safe driving habits through the remainder of the summer, even as it prepares to release data showing a record-low number of fatal traffic accidents occurred in the United States last year.

Our North Carolina injury lawyers expect nationwide accident data to show a decline of 20 percent in the number of serious and fatal accidents in some areas of the country. The downturn in the economy, fewer commuters and fewer tourists and vacation travelers are responsible for a large part of the decline. Although safety advocates also point to safer vehicles, distracted driving laws and primary enforcement of safety measures like seat belt campaigns.

Authorities are urging millions of Americans to practice safe driving as they hit the roads between now and the start of the school year. The majority of North Carolina car accidents can be linked to just a few dangerous and deadly driving habits, including drunk driving, speeding, distracted driving and aggressive driving.

Distracted driving continues to be a primary focus of government safety initiatives. The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that 6,000 people are killed each year in traffic accidents caused by distracted driving and another 500,000 are injured. Cell phone use is first on the list but other forms of driver distraction include eating, smoking, grooming, talking to passengers and using in-car electronic devices.

More information about distracted driving is available at www.distraction.gov.

Proper tire inflation is also a concern during hot summer weather. Underinflated tires or worn tread can quickly lead to disaster, especially in a car loaded with family members and luggage. Motorists should ensure proper tire care — including rotation, inflation and maintenance — and mind vehicle load limits. Tire inflation is important for all vehicles but has been shown to be especially critical in high vehicles and vehicles already prone to rollover accidents, including SUVs.

For more information about tire safety, visit www.safecar.gov.

Other NHTSA safe summer driving tips include:

-Never leave a child unattended in or near a vehicle. Temperatures inside a vehicle can quickly climb to lethal levels.

-Use child safety seats whenever appropriate.

-Always buckle up.

-Don’t drink and drive.

-Avoid fatigue and reduce stress. Drivers should get plenty of rest before traveling and leave in plenty of time to reach their destination.

-Keep vehicles properly maintained, and make sure windshield wipers and lights are working correctly.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident, contact the Carolina injury lawyers at Lee & Smith today for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 800-887-1965.

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