*This article was originally published by Amy Plemons of Car Pro USA.

1. Resolve to not drive distracted.

Distracted driving is a dangerous and deadly problem on U.S. roads. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reports that distracted driving claimed 3,142 lives in 2020 (8.1 percent of all traffic fatalities.)

In 2023 resolve to:

  • Put your cell phone down and focus on the road.
  • Don’t text and drive.
  • Set your destination in your navigation before heading out on the road.
  • Speak up when you’re a passenger and your driver uses an electronic device while driving. Offer to call or text for the driver, so his or her full attention stays on the driving task.
  • Resolve to remain an engaged driver even when new advanced driver assistance safety (ADAS) technologies are in use. Resolve to know how they work and to understand their limitations.

2. Resolve to not drive aggressively.

A recently released AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study found that 23 percent of drivers surveyed admitted to driving aggressively in the last 30 days prior to the survey. Further, the number of drivers who admitted to driving aggressively y changing lanes quickly or driving very close behind another car, increased from 2020 to 2021 by 7.5 percent.

In 2023, resolve to follow these AAA tips:

  • Don’t Offend: Never cause another driver to change their speed or direction. That means not forcing another driver to use their brakes, or turn the steering wheel in response to something you have done.
  • Be Tolerant and Forgiving: The other driver may just be having a really bad day. Assume that it’s not personal.
  • Do Not Respond: Avoid eye contact, don’t make gestures, maintain space around your vehicle, and contact 9-1-1 if needed.

3. Resolve to never drive impaired.

Many substances can impair driving, including alcohol, some over-the-counter and prescription drugs, and illegal drugs. In 2020, NHTSA figures show that 11,654 people lost their lives in alcohol-impaired driving crashes— which is a 14% increase from 2019.

Furthermore, a newly published NHTSA report finds that:

  • Fifty-six percent of seriously or fatally injured road users tested positive for alcohol, or some type of drug known to have potentially impairing effects.
  • The presence of cannabinoids (25%) and alcohol (23%) were most prevalent, followed by stimulants (11%) and opioids (9%).
  • The presence of two or more drugs was reported in 18% of cases with serious injuries and 32% of the fatalities.

 In 2023, resolve to:

  • Drive sober and not under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Designate a sober driver and take keys from impaired friends.
  • Call a cab or use a service like Uber or Lyft to get home safely.
  • Check with your pharmacist about prescription medications that could cause impairment.
  • Call 911 if you see a drunk driver.

4. Resolve to not speed or run red lights.

new AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study finds that admitted speeding is up 12.4 percent from 2020 to 2021. The dangerous problem is reflected in the rising number of speeding-related deaths. In 2020,  the NTHSA reports that speeding killed 11,258 people, up from 9,478 in 2019.  More than half of those killed – 53% – weren’t wearing seat belts.

Running red lights is also a problem. In 2019, the AAA also reported a 10-year high in red light deaths in the U.S. Its new report cites a 10.1 percent increase in red light running from 2020 to 2021.

In 2023, resolve to:

  • Obey the speed limit
  • Avoid running red lights.

5. Resolve to slow down for First Responders and Roadside Assistance Crews.

We shared a story from AAA in 2021 about the deaths of two AAA tow truck drivers while they were assisting drivers along the side of the road.   Roadside crews and our first responders put their lives on the line every day responding to motorist crashes and drivers in distress.  The NHTSA says every state has “Move Over” laws, requiring drivers to move over and/or slow down when approaching stopped emergency vehicles with emergency lights activated.

In 2023, resolve to:

  • Adhere to Move Over Laws: Slow down for emergency vehicles and first responders.
  • Slow down for roadside crews assisting stranded motorists.

6. Resolve to know your driving limitations due to age or a medical condition.

Whether it’s a medical condition, or simply getting older, it’s difficult to consider giving up your keys.  But some medical conditions and things that occur naturally as we age can lead to dangerous driving. For example, seeing at night is one thing that can become more difficult as our eyes change as we get older.

In a 2018 AAA Foundation For Traffic Safety study, nearly 83 percent of older drivers report never speaking to a family member or physician about their safe driving ability. Resolve to be aware of your health and how it may be impacting your driving skills and then discuss the situation with a family member and your doctor.

You can read more about aging and driving by visiting the National Institute of Aging website.

In 2023, resolve to:

7. Resolve to not driving when you’re sleepy.

The NHTSA reports that there were 633 deaths from drowsy driving-related crashes in 2020.

In 2023, resolve to:

  • Never get behind the wheel when you’re tired.
  • Be aware of medications you are taking that may cause drowsiness.
  • Get off the road at the first sign of being drowsy at the wheel. Signs include:
    • The inability to recall the last few miles traveled.
    • Having disconnected or wandering thoughts.
    • Having difficulty focusing or keeping your eyes open.
    • Feeling as though your head is very heavy.
    • Drifting out of your driving lane, perhaps driving on the rumble strips.
    • Yawning repeatedly.
    • Accidentally tailgating other vehicles.
    • Missing traffic signs.

8. Resolve to always wear your seatbelt.

We hope you’re doing this already, but if not, resolve to always wear your seatbelt. Wearing a seatbelt saves lives.  The NHTSA reports that in 2020, 53 percent of speeding drivers in fatal crashes were not wearing seatbelts.

Visit the Kailee Mills Foundation for more information on the importance of seatbelt use.

In 2023, resolve to:

  • Always wear your seatbelt and ensure everyone in your vehicle is buckled up, too.