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With so many cars on the streets and highways of Oklahoma, collisions between vehicles are common. Even though drivers and passengers may be inside metal frames and have built-in protections, such as seatbelts and airbags, they can still suffer from injuries during collisions. The predominant question then becomes, how can drivers protect themselves from crashes? The answer is to learn to rely on their skills, training and experience. In part, this means preparing for the worst scenarios. Fortunately, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified the best ways for drivers to avoid car accidents and the most serious injuries.

Comprehensive licensing programs are first. A 2007 study by the American Automobile Association found that such training reduced fatalities by 38 percent among 16-year-old drivers. The second way to reduce accidents is for drivers to avoid drinking alcohol before driving. In 2011, 6,800 lives could have been saved if drivers had not driven after consuming alcohol.

The third way is to use child safety seats and seatbelts. In 2011, these helped save 12,000 lives. Safety harnesses are installed in vehicles specifically to prevent serious injuries and death. Vehicle occupants who do not wear seatbelts can be ejected, greatly increasing the chances of dying.

Drivers who disregard the safety of other people by driving recklessly or drinking after driving can be held liable if they cause an accident that leads to injuries or fatalities. Victims and their families may be able to receive compensation for their losses through personal injury or wrongful death claims.

Source: Cdc.gov, “Saving lives and protecting people: preventing motor vehicle-related injuries,” Accessed on Dec. 10, 2014