Most of us can drive, and all of us have probably been in a car, it’s such a normal activity that most of us don’t even think about it anymore. However, there are some crazy, but true, things that might brighten up this mundane activity for you…
1. The Stats on Not Driving
When you think of sitting in the driver’s seat, you think of driving. The fact is though that a car will spend ninety five percent of its time parked, rather than being driven. Not only that, but if you drive a regular commute every day, you’ll spend around two weeks of your life stopped at red lights. For every minute that a road is blocked it creates on average five minutes of delay. Plus, road speeds are going down. Even as people battle to have speed limits removed from roads, the fact that more and more people are driving actually means that our average speeds are dropping because there’s more traffic. So, even if you think you’re driving, there’s a pretty strong chance that you’re going to be spending some of that driving time not driving, or at least driving slowly.
2. Accidents Cause Accidents
The large majority of distraction related accidents (which means accidents that aren’t caused by out right reckless or drunk driving) are caused by fatigue. However, the second leading cause of accidents? Motorists who stop to look at accidents. Whilst rubber necking might seem morbid to some, the truth is that most drivers will at least try to grab a quick glance at all the excitement. However, in your eagerness to see a little gore, a maybe a sexy policeman or two, you take your eyes off the road, and could well cause an accident. Think about that the next time you roll down the window to check out smouldering metal…
3. Drivers are More Likely to Kill Themselves than Others
That sounds weird, but it’s actually quite logical. The fact is that the vast majority of vehicle related fatalities occur when a single car either runs off the road or collides with a stationary object. That means that technically, every time you sit in the driver’s seat you’re more likely to kill yourself than anyone else on the road. Also, you have around a one in a hundred chance of dying in a car accident in your lifetime. Scary stuff.
4. Drive Like There’s No One Looking
Drivers drive more badly in the presence of other people. It’s true. You’re more likely to get into an accident if you’re carrying passengers. Some of this may be performance anxiety, but a lot of it is down to peer pressure for younger drivers. Particularly young male drivers who are up to four times more likely to be in an accident when they’re carrying passengers from their peer group. We have a natural tendency to take more risks when we’re in the company of others, partly because we feel the need to impress, and partly because psychologically we feel safer in the presence of other people. Also, drivers tend to take longer to leave parking spaces when there’s somebody waiting for the space. This is almost definitely due to performance anxiety (and not wanting to hit the car that’s stopped behind you) rather than to down right meaness.
5. Following the Letter of the Law
Sometimes drivers just can’t catch a break. There are plenty of weird traffic laws out there, particularly in the US. There are laws about not driving through playgrounds (Is that really necessary?), in New Jersey it’s illegal to overtake without honking your horn, and in Maryland it’s illegal to honk someone else’s horn. Even drivers who try to follow the laws of the road might get caught out sometimes with laws like these…