A Guide to Highway Safety
On a daily basis our highways see millions of cars, trucks, vans and motorcycles use the road. In hot and cold temperatures and wet and dry weather, motorists are using our highways for a variety of purposes. However, whether drivers are going to or from work, driving trucks for a living, driving on vacation or going on a shopping trip, dangers are all around on the highways.
There are a number of dangers on the highways. Some are weather related, which we have little control. Some are vehicle related, which we have small amount of control in preventing problems. Other dangers are driver related, which each individual driver has control in preventing.
Each day, millions of drivers get into their vehicles and drive, not realizing they and other drivers may be at risk because of vehicle malfunction. All vehicles must pass yearly inspections to ensure that the vehicle is safe to be on the road. In the month in between however, there are no rules and regulations that govern whether a vehicle is safe to be on the road.
During the year, drivers are responsible for properly maintaining their vehicles. The maintenance includes making sure that the brakes are functioning properly, the tires are properly inflated to the correct level, the tires have adequate tread on them and in bad weather, lights and turn signals are in proper working condition, and drivers need to ensure that they can see the road during bad weather. By making sure the vehicle is in safe, driving condition, drivers are reducing the chance of accident.
Of all the dangers on the road, the most unpredictable danger is weather related. Depending on the season and location in the world, drivers could be facing extreme heat or cold weather, rain, wind or snow.
To cope with weather dangers, drivers need to make sure that they drive at an appropriate speed. Driving too fast in bad weather is not only a danger to you, but to other drivers as well. Driving in bad weather means it is necessary to make sure that you vehicle is equipped to handle the bad weather. Proper tires are important in snow and rain, as well as properly functioning windshield wipers.
Probably the most unpredictable component on the road are drivers. While you are in control of your own vehicle and what you do in it, you can’t control the other drivers.
While the individual states have established rules and laws of the road, individual drivers are responsible for obeying the rules. Drivers that drive over the speed limit can be a danger to others on the roadway. The same are for drivers that do not follow stop lights, yield signs and other highway signage.
However, one of the most common problems is with drivers get behind the wheel when they are not in proper condition to drive. Drivers that are under the influence of alcohol, illegal substances or under the weather are a danger to themselves and to others. In addition, drivers that use cell phones without a hands free device or are distracted by other factors are a danger to everyone.
Highway travel can be a fast and safe way to go from point to point. However, unless all drivers take responsibility for their own vehicles and driving, all drivers are in danger. To help understand the dangers of highway travel and what can be done to make it a safe place, here are a collection of resources:
- National Highway Traffic Safety
- Highway Safety Plan
- Comprehensive Highway Safety Plan
- Motor Vehicle Safety
- OSHA Motor Vehicle Safety
- Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards
- Kids Safety Motor Vehicles (PDF)
- Motor Vehicle Safety Topics
- Effects of Snowfall on Motor Vehicle Accidents
- Travel and Motor Vehicle Safety
- Wet Weather Driving
- Motor Vehicle Defensive Driving (PDF)
- How to Drive in Inclement Weather
- Preventing Motor Vehicle Collisions
- Safe Driving For Teens
- Motor Vehicle Driver Safety
- Traffic Safety Facts
- Driver Safety
- Older Driver Safety