If you are like most adults, you probably have specific routes that you travel to work and other obligations each day. You may take the same streets habitually, leading you to feel comfortable and safe driving in those areas. However, what you feel is a false sense of security based on your familiarity with those roads and not on the statistical danger you face.
Although you may not worry about a crash right around the corner from your house, that is statistically where you have some of the worst risk for a collision. Your sense of comfort with familiar roads could prevent you from adequately watching for other vehicles, pedestrians and even animals in the street that could cause a crash.
Roughly a third of all major motor vehicle collisions occur within one mile of someone’s residence, not far from home. In other words, the roads were you feel the safest may actually be the places that you are most likely to experience a major collision.
Comfort and lack of attention often play a role
The fact that you know those streets closest to your home like the back of your hand doesn’t make the roads safer to travel. Instead, your sense of familiarity with the surface streets could lead you to drive dangerously or fail to pay attention to your vehicle and the roads as much as you would in less familiar surroundings.
You might send a last-minute text message to your boss to let them know you’re running late while pulling out of your driveway. You could also choose to eat your breakfast at the wheel before you hit the highway or run through your checklist for the day, mentally distracting yourself.
No matter how often you travel on a specific section of road, there is always the risk for a potential collision. You should treat the section of the street that leads to your driveway with the same respect that you use toward the on-ramp for the freeway.
Promise yourself to focus on getting home safely every day
When you leave work and finally get off the highway and are only five to 10 minutes from home, you may start to relax and think about the evening ahead of you instead of the road you have yet to travel. Don’t make a mistake that delays your arrival at home by letting your guard down.
One of the best ways that you can reduce the amount of risk that the roads closest to your home pose to you and other people in your vehicle is to commit to maintaining your focus on driving regardless of how close to your home you are. Treating driving as the safety-critical task that it is can help you arrive safely at your destination and mitigate the risks that come from ignoring the dangers on the modern roads.