Americans have a problem driving safely. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety notes that 37,461 people died in accidents in 2016 alone.
Think of it this way: In that same year, studies showed that 9,728 planes flew at any given moment in the United States, with an average of 1,270,406 passengers. That means each plane had an average of 131 passengers.
In order for 37,461 people to die in plane crashes in just one year, 286 planes would have to go down. Think about the media coverage any time one plane goes down. Now imagine the outrage over 286 major aviation disasters in one year.
That's just to illustrate how dangerous the roads have become. The loss of life is astronomical, and it's often due to dangerous driving habits that people refuse to shake. These include the following:
1. Driving too fast in bad weather
The first time it snows, no one seems to slow down. Drivers are all over the road and in the ditch. It's as if everyone forgets that weather dictates the real maximum speed, even if that's well under the speed limit. It's not just snow and ice. Other dangers include fog, rain and even the glare of the sun.
2. Texting and driving
The problem, really, is driver distraction. Much of it comes from texting, with how chained people are to their cellphones. But other distractions include listening to the radio, talking to passengers, chatting on the phone, eating food and taking pictures. Distractions are rampant and lead to many accidents.
3. Reckless driving
This is sort of a catch-all, but it just means failing to slow down and be careful. Reckless drivers often honk their horns, tailgate other drivers or swerve all over the road, passing on both sides. They may be in a hurry. Whatever the case, it is clear that safety is not their first priority.
4. Drunk driving
Before the rise of distracted driving, this was often hailed as the most dangerous driver activity. Even if distractions give it a run for its money, it's still very risky and there's a reason it's illegal. These accidents are incredibly likely to be fatal.
Speeding is so common that a lot of people don't even act like it's wrong. They'll speed right past police cars. When there are no police vehicles in sight, they'll kick it up another notch. Speeding can make drivers lose control, it can cut back on reaction times and it can make it vastly more likely that someone will die when an accident occurs.
As you can see, the statistics make it clear that Maryland's roads pose a serious danger. Anyone who braves the streets must be aware of his or her rights.