With at least 200 total fatalities, 2020 was the deadliest year for NYC traffic since 2014. Time will tell whether that number will rise or fall. But for now, it is in the best interests of each individual to work towards decreasing it. Just like finding a compromise with a noisy neighbor, this is an obligation borne by every member of the community. Safety in our urban spaces begins with us. Here’s how you can pitch in.
Educate teenagers about road safety
Teenagers, and to some extent, young adult drivers, represent a large portion of car accidents. Teens aged 16-19 are three times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than drivers 20 or older, according to the CDC. Meanwhile, Driving-tests.org found that over 90 percent of such crashes are due to the driver having little to no driving education. Knowing that, the grave importance of improving our teens’ driving proficiency becomes abundantly clear. Some young people can be overconfident, and thus, lack respect for the road and their vehicle. Nipping this problem in the bud can vastly improve road safety in our communities for the years to come. Aside from sending teens to driving school, it also pays to hammer home the dangers of driving under the influence.
Invest in safety upgrades for your own car
While years of driving bring with them the experience needed to stay safe on the road, accidents can still happen. So investing a portion of surplus cash on safety features can be well worth it if you want to contribute to keeping your streets safe. Even small things, like blindspot mirrors and an onboard diagnostic scanner can make your car that much more roadworthy. Alternatively, you might be in the market for a new car and can afford to pay a bit more. In that case, consider car makes and models with enhanced safety features. This eliminates the hassle of having to install safety-enhancing gadgets yourself, and ensures that all the gear equipped to your car is tailored to its specifications. Not to mention, cars like that can pay for themselves with the money you save from accident avoidance.
Coordinate with the local authorities
Even if your local government isn’t the most receptive of feedback, giving reports of road conditions can still pay off. A simple tweak to signal timing or a quick patching of an overlooked pothole can eliminate driving inconveniences and reduce the rate of accidents by a wide margin. Reports from citizens can be invaluable as they offer a ground-level insight into how the road system is functioning. This feeds into a network of data-driven knowledge. This network can help improve the safety of roads over time by telling the authorities which fixes to prioritize.
Many times, a lot of the factors that cause road accidents are out of our control. But by taking the reins over the factors we can control, we can make our streets as safe as they can possibly get. The vast majority of accidents are preventable, and if everybody in the community does their part, they can become an utter rarity.
~ By Jennifer Henderson