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AAA: Resolve to Steer Clear in the New Year

Help reduce traffic crashes and fatalities in 2022 with these tips and tools

In 2021 there were 497 traffic fatalities statewide, according to the Minnesota's Department of Public Safety, Office of Traffic Safety. That's the highest tally since 2007 when the state had 510 deaths. Iowa's preliminary numbers also show an increase, coming in at 353 deaths in 2021, the highest since 2018. AAA – The Auto Club Group urges drivers to make a few New Year's resolutions that will help keep them - and everyone else - safer on the road in 2022.

"New Year's is a time for reflection and commitment to better habits," said Meredith Mitts, spokesperson for AAA – The Auto Club Group. "Too many lives are being lost on our roads, and we all have a role to play in preventing these tragedies."

Drive sober – Don't get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol, using marijuana or taking medications that can cause impairment. Designate a driver or have a plan to get home safely whenever you go out. Be careful with cold and allergy medicines and prescription drugs, and keep in mind that cars count as "Heavy Machinery" when reading warning labels.

Get enough sleep – Missing just a 2-3 hours of sleep more than quadruples your risk for a crash, which is the statistical equivalent of driving impaired.

Avoid distractions – This includes not using "hands-free" systems, which can be just as cognitively distracting as manual controls and hand held devices. And don't let advanced safety features give you a false sense of security. Stay focused and engaged at all times behind the wheel.

Slow down – Speeding makes it more difficult to avoid a collision by reducing your reaction time and increases the likelihood that a crash will cause injuries and fatalities – especially when it involves vulnerable roadway users like cyclists and pedestrians. Slowing down on the highway can also save you money, as your vehicle loses fuel efficiency the faster you go over 55 mph.

Buckle up – According to preliminary data from the Minnesota Department of Transportation 109 of the deaths in 2021 were for unbelted passengers. These fatalities were nearly 50% higher than they were in 2019 when there were 73. Safety belts save lives.

Share the road – Watch out for cyclists, pedestrians, and motorcycles, and slow down and move over whenever you see maintenance crews or emergency responders on the side of the road.

"Our surveys of drivers consistently show a gap between perceptions of danger and self-reported behavior when it comes to crash risks," continued Mitts. "Ultimately, we need drivers to do what they know is the right thing."

Members can use the AAADriveTM feature in the AAA Mobile app to keep track of their progress on several of these resolutions. This tool uses your mobile device to monitor how often you are distracted by your phone while driving, your ability to manage speeds and anticipate hazards, and how long you drive without taking a break. You can challenge yourself to improve your score, and challenge your friends and family to see who the safest driver is. Parents can also use AAADrive to set parameters for teen drivers and minimize risk factors such as speed, time of day and geographic boundaries. Members who utilize this feature may be eligible for discount on their insurance through AAA.

About AAA - The Auto Club Group

The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America with more than 14 million members across 14 U.S. states, the province of Quebec and two U.S. territories. ACG and its affiliates provide members with roadside assistance, insurance products, banking and financial services, travel offerings and more. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with more than 62 million members in the United States and Canada. AAA's mission is to protect and advance freedom of mobility and improve traffic safety. For more information, get the AAA Mobile app, visit AAA.com, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Insurance coverage is subject to all policy terms, conditions, exclusions and limitations. Discounts and savings opportunities subject to eligibility requirements. Subject to underwriting requirements. Insurance underwritten by one of the following companies: Auto Club Insurance Association, MemberSelect Insurance Company, Auto Club Group Insurance Company, Auto Club Property-Casualty Insurance Company, Auto Club South Insurance Company, Auto Club Insurance Company of Florida, or non-affiliated insurance companies.

AAADrive™ participation is optional. Subject to terms, conditions and availability. AAADrive Auto Insurance Discount is not available in all states. Download of the mobile app, activation of AAADrive and the ability to record journeys are required to receive the discount. Savings may vary and are based on driving behavior. Discounts apply to select coverages only and do not apply to statutory assessment and fixed expense fees. Discounts may vary by state.