Alabama ranked 8th best state for drivers

by UNA Police Sgt. Shequanda Jenkins

UNA Police Sgt. Shequanda Jenkins said Alabama receiving the rank of eighth safest state to drive in, according to a recent survey from financial site WalletHub, is a prestigious achievement.

She said, however, she believes the state can attain a higher designation if drivers utilize a few basic driver safety tips as follows:

1. Be a courteous driver.

Many accidents occur due to aggressive driving. It is important to remember that one’s emotions impact their behavior.

It is imperative that motorists exercise courtesy, drive defensively and avoid behaviors that could aggravate others or lead to road rage incidents.

2. Refrain from texting and driving.

Most cellular devices are equipped with apps that allow parents to lock the phones of new drivers. In addition, some possess Bluetooth capability which allows for hands-free usage.

The National Safety Council reports that 1 out of every 4 car accidents in the United States is caused by texting and driving.

3. Always wear a seat belt and ensure that passengers do the same.

A motorist is more likely to survive a crash in which seat belts are properly worn. It is estimated that 4,200 lives could be saved each year if 90 percent of the U.S. population wore seat belts

4. Maintain the vehicle.

Equipment is only reliable if it is properly maintained. Before traveling, be sure to check equipment. Make sure windshield wipers, tires and emergency lights are properly functioning and the vehicle is properly fueled.

5. Be aware of driving conditions.

Drivers should always plan their routes and take care to monitor local road conditions. Many accidents occur due to driving too fast for road conditions or while traveling unfamiliar routes.

6. Beware of impaired driving.

It is important to remember that alcohol, illicit drugs, medications or sleep deprivation can influence impairments while driving. Make sure to be “road ready” before getting behind the wheel.

When in doubt, get a designated driver or consult a taxi service.

7. Beware of distractions.

Motorists should refrain from attempting to perform additional tasks while driving, such as adjusting vehicle controls, unnecessary interactions with passengers, eating, applying makeup, etc. A person can take their eyes off the road for a few seconds and get into an accident.

Distracted driving is a leading cause of auto accidents in Alabama, according to Drive Safe Alabama.