Sixteen people lost their lives in traffic accidents in Cumberland County in 2022.

That’s 16 people who will forever be missed as families gather for special occasions and loved ones think about what might have been — had it not been for a tragic accident.

That number represents an increase in traffic fatalities from 2021, when seven people died on our local and state roadways. For the families left behind, even one death is too many.

Statewide, Tennessee reported 1,309 traffic fatalities in 2022, down slightly from 2021, but still up from year’s past.

Traffic accidents can also cause severe injuries and significant property damage. And traffic accidents can result in the loss of transportation for people who depend on their car or truck to get around — especially in a rural area like ours without a robust public transportation system.

In addition to the 16 fatal crashes in Cumberland County last year, there were another 50 car accidents resulting in serious injuries. 

Traffic accidents happen in the blink of an eye, but the reasons for fatal car accidents are things we can all address each time we get behind the wheel of a car.

•Wear Your Seatbelt — Tennessee requires drivers and passengers to wear their seatbelts because seatbelts can save lives.

•Focus on Driving — Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of car accidents. Distracted driving includes using a cell phone, tinkering with the radio or other car system, or paying attention to passengers. Driving requires our full attention. This is not the time to multitask.

•Slow Down — Cumberland County has several nice roadways that help us get around. But those new roads — with their straightaways and wide shoulders — seem to encourage high rates of speed. Driving too fast makes it harder to respond to hazards in the road — like deer jumping out or a car stopping for a turn. The time you gain from a few extra miles per hour isn’t worth the risk you pose to yourself and others.

•Don’t Drink and Drive — Not only is driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol illegal, it’s incredibly dangerous. Your ability to make decisions is compromised and your reaction time is slowed. Find a sober ride home if you decide to drink or use other substances that might impact your ability to drive safely.

•Obey the Rules of the Road — Come to a complete stop at stop signs or stop signals or the new pedestrian crosswalk if red lights are showing. Avoid aggressive driving — like tailgating or cutting off other drivers. Check your blindspot before changing lanes and remember, never change lanes while going through an intersection. If you find yourself in the wrong lane, don’t try to get over immediately. Continue on and go around the block. It’s the safe choice.

•Consider Current Driving Conditions — How you drive on a bright, sunshiny day is different than how you will drive in inclement weather or at night. Slow down, give yourself more time to reach your destination and give other drivers plenty of room. If the roads are frozen or snow covered, stay home if you can.

Its tragic for someone to lose their life in a senseless accident that could have been prevented. And it’s a heavy burden to carry if you are responsible for the loss of another’s life.

As we enter the New Year, resolve to be a safer driver for your own safety and the safety of everyone else on the road with you.

Crossville Chronicle

 

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