10 MPH Over The Speed Limit Is Fine"
And Other Common Driving Myths.

Speed limits are much like urban legends, there are many driving myths that have been passed along over time. As a result, certain common driving practices have prompted new laws due to the fact that these behaviors contribute so greatly to vehicle accidents and fatalities. Below are 5 of some of the more common myths and misconceptions about driving that can affect safety.

1. "Driving above the limit is okay to keep with the flow of traffic."

This is merely a well known fallacy that has been created to justify speeding. There are reasons that speed limits are posted, such as the rate of accidents that have occurred at higher speed limits. The law expects the posted speed limit to be followed, regardless of who else may be speeding. Therefore, anyone who is driving over the posted speed limit is taking the chance of causing an accident or receiving a traffic violation.

According to Perecman NY accident attorneys, an accident victim can bring a lawsuit for pain and suffering against a driver if that driver is proven to be at fault for an accident. Driving under the speed limit is one way to ensure you're not found at fault for an automobile accident.

2. "As long as no traffic is coming, it is okay to make turns."

Many states have road signs that indicate it is illegal to make a right turn on a read light. On some highways, it is illegal to make a u-turn. In California, u-turns are prohibited in high traffic areas or business districts due to safety reasons. Each city has its own laws, so drivers need to be aware of them. When it comes to turning in general, doing so without signaling is always enough reason for an officer to pull over a motorist.

3. "Drivers can multi-task as long as they have a headset."

Human beings are not as able to multi-task as many people have been led to believe. Since the brain compartmentalizes and prioritizes tasks, any form of distraction can cause mistakes. In the case of driving, a very high degree of collisions occur due to distracted driving. In addition to mobile devices, drivers should refrain from doing anything that takes their attention away from driving, even for a second.

This includes carrying on certain conversations, eating, fiddling with stereos and other activities. Those few seconds of inattention could cause an accident that results in injury, great financial cost, or death. 

4. "Backseat passengers do not need to wear seat belts."

According to National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) statistics, less than half of all back seat passengers wear their seat belts, as compared to 80 percent for all vehicle occupants. This poses two risks:

  1. Unbelted passengers will not be protected against accidents, especially rollovers
  2. They are at high risk for becoming projectiles toward other passengers during collisions, increasing injury for themselves and others.

5. "The middle lane is safest for driving."

Many motorists have believed that they are safer in the middle lane when driving along a highway. The mistake is thinking that the right lane is only for merging and exiting. In reality, right lanes are generally safest and left lanes were meant to be kept open for passing vehicles. When encountering merging traffic from the right lane, drivers should check mirrors and move into middle lanes to facilitate merging traffic.

When it is safe to do so, they should return to the right lane. When traffic prohibits moving easily into middle lanes for merging traffic, drivers should slow down to allow gaps for merging vehicles. Always use signals, flash lights and wave to drivers so they can safely merge into traffic.

Keep in mind that driving well also involves using good common sense. Just because something may be legal does not mean it is appropriate for every situation. For instance, traffic and road conditions should always be taken into account. Also, ignorance of the law is not an excuse for committing traffic offenses. Driving is a privilege and not a right. Therefore, motorists should always be aware of the laws and take proper precautions to ensure the safety of themselves, passengers and others on the road.

Lisa Coleman is the guest author of this great article.


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