Unintentional injuries are the number one cause of death in the United States for people up to age 44. Although there are a few other major areas of concern, like poisonings and house fires, most of those injuries come in some form of vehicular accident. Over a million people are injured and over 32,000 people die each year from such accidents.
In order to protect yourself and your family, here are some basic rules you should follow to avoid becoming a victim:
1. Always buckle up.
No matter where you sit in a car, no matter how quick the trip you plan to take -- buckle up. Seat belts drastically reduce the chance of death or injury if you have an accident.
If you have children in your car, it's important to know the correct type of restraint to use for each child, based on the child's weight, height and age. Keep in mind that children under five years of age always need to be in a safety seat in the back -- not the front -- of the car. Children under two also need to be in rear-facing car seats.
Generally speaking, your child needs to be at least four feet, nine inches tall before they can properly fit a seat belt -- and no one under the age of 13 should ever ride in a front seat. The force of an air bag deploying alone can be fatal for children.
2. Put your phone down when you're driving.
Texting and driving is tremendously dangerous. It draws your attention away from the road long enough for a massive accident to take place. In 2016 alone, almost 3,500 people died from distracted driving. If you can't trust yourself, lock your phone away in the trunk of the car before you start out.
3. If you bike, take precautions.
In 2016, the last year for which government figures are available, there were 840 fatalities among bicyclists due to accidents with motor vehicles. Before you get on the road, make sure that your bike is in good working order. Also, make sure that you're wearing appropriate safety gear, including a helmet and reflective wear.
Many accidents and deaths on the road are preventable with just a little extra caution. If you're involved in a car accident, an attorney can better help you understand your options.