Congratulations Wisconsin: 2013 a Banner Year for Safe Driving

In the state of Wisconsin, 2013 has been the safest year on the roads since World War II. Currently, the state’s Department of Transportation reports that during all of 2013, there were 519 people killed in motor vehicle crashes in the state of Wisconsin.

That number is well below the 2012 total of 601 motor vehicle deaths and comes in under the previous record year since the 1940s which was 542 deaths in 2009.

Wisconsin drivers are getting safer. According to law enforcement officials, part of the lowered number of fatalities is due to police traffic safety efforts that include stricter enforcement and greater education about risky driving behaviors such as drunk driving and not wearing seat belts.

Here at Westway Auto Body, we’d like to see that number drop even more in 2014. The New Year is a great time to review these defensive driving tips that could save your life while you’re on the road.

Avoid Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of motor vehicle accidents today. While you’re driving, there are a number of things that can distract you from the road, including passengers or loud talking, eating, putting on makeup, and especially texting or talking on hand held cell phones.

In the state of Wisconsin, laws for cell phone use while driving include:

  • All drivers are banned from texting while driving
  • Drivers with probationary licenses or permits are banned from all cell phone use, including handheld and hands-free phones, except in cases of emergency
  • Hands-free and handheld cell phone use is permitted for experienced drivers

Of course, the best and safest course of action is to refrain from using cell phones at all while you’re driving.

Be Aware of Other Drivers

Another good defensive driving tip is to pay attention to the vehicles around you in addition to your own. It’s good to stay in one lane as much as possible while driving because many accidents happen during lane changes. This means you should also keep an eye on other vehicles that are changing lanes and be prepared to react if they fail to see you.

Learn how to tell where other drivers’ blind spots are, so you can be extra cautious while driving in another vehicle’s blind spot.

Keep Your Distance

Tailgating is another common cause for accidents. When you’re following another vehicle too closely, you have very little room to avoid a collision if the driver ahead of you suddenly slows, stops or attempts to change lanes. Leave at least three car lengths between you and the next vehicle and give yourself more room if you have a large, heavy vehicle like a truck or a van.

In addition, you should keep as far away as possible from a driver who appears to be driving erratically or dangerously. Slow down to let them pass you, or leave yourself a lot of distance if you must pass them.

Use Common Sense

Finally, make sure to follow the common sense advice that prevents accidents. Always wear your seat belt, slow down in poor weather conditions, and never drink and drive.

Here’s to an even safer year on the roads and highways of Wisconsin!