Most written tests for a driver’s license in U.S. will address alcohol, or drinking and driving. You will learn from the driver’s manual that alcohol is the number one killer on U.S. highways. Alcohol is involved in approximately 40% of all traffic deaths. Among persons aged 16 to 20, the percentage is 36. (niaaa.nih.gov).
The reason is that it highly increases the risk of driver-related errors.
Driver errors range from driving too fast, following cars too closely, unsafe overtaking, running a red light and many other careless mistakes. But also over-correcting when running off the pavement.
In theory, the way back to the road is very simple: stay calm, decelerate, don’t slam on the brakes, and then slowly ease back onto the roadway or your lane when it is safe.
Theory is of course one thing, real life something else.
16-year-old Joseph Gerald Hart died in North Carolina after being in a head-on crash with a delivery truck. He had run off the pavement and quickly over-corrected trying to get back on the road, getting too far onto the opposite lane.
Many driving schools have started to give students hands on experience in off-road recovery. Never try to get back on the road until you got full control and you know that it is safe.
If you already have your driver’s license: repeat theory and make yourself aware of the risks involved.
Another common driver error is swerving out of one’s lane. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that 15,574 people died in US traffic accidents in 2007 because a driver swerved out of their lane. Alcohol and/or cell-phone use are often the reason behind this kind of distracted driving.
Don’t drink and drive. And hang up your cell phone.