A car accident is an extremely variable event in terms of the injuries a person could sustain. On average, there are around six million car crashes that occur on a yearly basis in the United States, but only a portion of those are fatal. In fact, estimates from the most recent poll indicate that around 42,915 people died in a given year from car crashes.

However, there is a disproportionately higher chance that a female passenger will die in a car accident compared to a male passenger. While there are specific reasons for this, it’s important to take extra precautionary measures to protect yourself in a vehicle as a woman.

Why Women Are More Likely to Die in a Car Accident

Believe it or not, women are 73% more likely to be injured in a car accident and 17% more likely to die in a vehicle crash. This concerning statistic is due to two primary factors. First, women tend to be shorter than men, which results in them sitting closer to the steering wheel in order to drive. They also tend to need to sit higher to see above the dashboard. As a result, a women’s hips and legs are more vulnerable in a crash due to the position they are in.

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Secondly, the crash test dummies used to determine safety ratings for vehicles are not built proportionately accurate for women. In fact, these dummies are often far shorter and don’t take into account the unique biology of a woman. This results in skewed safety data when cars are released on the road, partially resulting in more fatalities.

7 Tips for Staying Safe on the Road

Currently, researchers are working on developing a crash test dummy that is a more accurate representation of a woman to reduce the risk of fatality. In the meantime, however, to avoid being involved in an accident and living with PTSD from a car crash in the future, follow the below seven pieces of advice to keep yourself safe:

Avoid Driving in Poor Weather

While sometimes unavoidable, taking the time to second-guess driving during the pouring rain or falling snow can be a smart strategy. Drivers have less control over their vehicles during this weather, and all it takes is one car to hydroplane for an accident to occur.

Always Buckle Up before Starting to Drive

While this is muscle memory for most people, always be sure to buckle up and double-check that all passengers are buckled up as well. Seatbelts save lives, which means you should always have yours pulled tightly to reduce your risk of injury.

Handle Preventative Maintenance on Your Vehicle

Regular maintenance of your vehicle will help mechanics catch breakdowns before they occur. By simply replacing parts when they are supposed to be replaced and topping off all fluids in your car, such as oil, you can reduce the risk of a serious accident.

Handle Business on Your Phone Before Leaving

In the modern day, GPS, music, and more are run from our smartphones. While this is understandable, get everything in order on your phone while you’re still in the park rather than while you’re out on the road.

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Scan at Least 12 Seconds in Front of Your Car

One strong method for staying safe on the road is to follow the 12-second rule. This involves scanning 12 seconds ahead of you on the road to look for any hazards or traffic that may cause a slowdown. This will give you more reaction time to prepare in the event of something happening on the road.

Maintain a 3 Second or Longer Following Distance

Similar to the above 12 second rule, drivers should also follow the three-second rule of driving. This means leaving three seconds of space between you and the driver in front of you. Again, test this by picking a landmark on the road that the driver passes and see how long it takes you to reach that point.

Be a Defensive Rather than Offensive Driver

Overall, defense is your best friend on the road. If you see a driver who seems to be driving erratically, for example, avoid speeding up to get around them. Instead, maintain a safe distance to protect yourself from a potential accident.

Keep Yourself Protected on the Road

Protecting yourself on the road is all about being defensive and watchful for other drivers. You can only control your actions and not that of others, which means taking precautions and leaving plenty of reaction time for yourself is the best strategy to follow. You may not be able to avoid a car crash entirely, but the above tips will help you reduce the risk of serious injuries resulting from that accident.