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The 5 Biggest Driving No-Nos - Copy

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Far too often, a person forgets how dangerous it is to operate a vehicle.

The years of looking forward to driving and all of the responsibilities that accompany that journey loses its initial thrill. Then the reality of sitting in traffic, rising fuel prices and need to drive everywhere makes sitting behind the wheel seem like more of a chore than the privilege it truly is.

The reality is driving a car is a hazardous practice and people have very dangerous driving habits.

Traffic accidents are one of the Top 10 causes of death in United States and 33,870 people were killed in automotive accidents in 2012 alone, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Often times, it is driver error that is the key contributor in a traffic collision. And while you may be the safest driver in the world, you still depend on every other person on the road to make commuting safe.

Keep these five factors that are the most dangerous driving habits in mind the next time you take the wheel.

1. Not Wearing a Seatbelt
Seatbelts are one of the biggest contributors to saving someone’s life in an accident. While airbags certainly help, they are designed to work in combination with seatbelts, which help prevent a person from getting ejected from the vehicle in the event of a high speed crash or rollover.

Putting on a seatbelt is one of the easiest things for a driver to do. Yet a staggering amount of drivers still do not use them on a consistent basis. In fact, 14 percent of drivers from across the country did not use their seatbelts in 2012, according to the NHTSA.

2. Distracted Driving
When you’re behind the wheel, your only focus should be on the road. While this idea seems simple enough, people still reach for their cell phones, send text messages, eat, drink and apply makeup while on the road.

Because text messages require your visual, manual and cognitive attention, it is by far the most dangerous driving habit distraction.

Sending or receiving a text message takes your eyes of the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, which at 55 PMPH is the equivalent of driving an entire length of football field while blindfolded.

3. Speeding
Saving a few minutes isn’t worth jeopardizing your life. And speeding is the second leading cause of traffic fatalities, according to the NHTSA. The speed limits that are posted for a reason. They protect you from winding roads, hard to see areas and also give other drivers on the road an idea of how fast everyone around them will be traveling.

4. Driving While Tired
Although it is often overlooked, driving drowsy is just as dangerous as driving drunk. A tired body and mind means your reaction time is severely reduced and it puts you, along with everyone else on the road, at risk.

Trading safety for a few lost minutes on the road is worth it every time.

5. Under the Influence
Driving while under the influence causes accidents. A drunk driver loses the ability to drive and has essentially zero reaction time. This information is constantly repeated to drivers of all ages, yet people still get behind the wheel instead of calling a taxi to ensure they get home safely.

One in three people will be involved in an alcohol-related crash in their lifetime, according to the NHTSA.

And in 2011, there were 9,878 fatalities in accidents that involved a driver who was legally drunk, which represented 31 percent of the total traffic fatalities for the entire year, according to the NHTSA.

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