Harm reduction involves making decisions based on the statistical likelihood of risks and negative outcomes. For drivers, harm reduction often involves learning about car crashes and taking proactive steps to reduce the risk they have for a collision.

Learning about different habits that contribute to crashes can help you stay safer by adopting better driving practices. Learning about locations that have increased risk can also go a long way toward helping you stay safe by avoiding dangerous places or making more informed decisions in risky places.

Many crashes happen close to your home

While you might think that people are more likely to get into collisions on unfamiliar roads far from where they live, the opposite is true. People feel comfortable on roads that they know and routinely drive and also travel these roads with great frequency, possibly several times a day. Roads within 25 miles of your home are where you’re most likely to get into a crash.

While you may feel tempted to distract yourself when driving on the most familiar streets you routinely travel, that is actually the time when you should be paying the closest attention in order to protect yourself and others.

Intersections can provoke human mistakes and then crashes

Intersections are so common on surface roads that you probably go through dozens just on your commute to work. However, every intersection that you pass through has the potential to produce a collision.

Drivers coming from the other direction may not pay adequate attention. Someone failing to indicate a turn could lead others to mistakenly presume a different maneuver than the one they complete, potentially resulting in a crash because of that miscommunication.

Although you might think that surface streets are safer than more direct routes like freeways, they carry their own risks because of all the intersections you will have to travel through.

Rural roads also carry increased risk

While traffic increases your risk, other vehicles aren’t the only danger on the road. Sometimes, a lack of traffic can lull people into complacency, which might explain why rural roads have more fatal crashes than city streets. There’s also the higher speed limits and lower chance of speed enforcement in rural areas which could promote more dangerous driving habits in some people.