Driving is a very sensitive skill that should always be done with extreme keenness. It is estimated that about 1.3 million people lose their lives every year due to car accidents. That is a whooping 3200 deaths every single day. Absent-minded driving aka distracted driving pose a deadly impact to passengers and pedestrians alike. With more and more people texting while driving, its no wonder car accidents are on the rise.
Moreover, the number of pedestrians killed has increased over the past few years. Research shows that a pedestrian gets injured every 7.5 minutes and 1 pedestrian dies every 1.6 hours. Distracted driving results in more car accidents.
Keep your phone off as you drive
Car fatalities from the use of smartphones have increased by 47% since 2010. Additionally, smart phone use has been responsible for a 40% increase in injuries. You should minimize your phone usage to the answering important calls only.
Do not drive under influence of alcohol
Alcohol causes hallucinations and poor judgement. Drivers under the influence of alcohol are prone to distraction hence causing fatalities.
Focus while driving
Most people drive subconsciously. However, driving should be an active process and should involve all the senses.
Attend driving lessons
Every person aspiring to drive should attend a driving lesson to ensure that they are competent enough and can confidently drive on the roads.
Limit the number of your passengers
As a driver, you should ensure that you only carry the recommended number of passengers. Novice drivers should however not be allowed to carry a large number of passengers or goods. Besides, teenage passengers are very distractive hence teenage drives should be more careful if they carry fellow teenagers.
Eat before or after driving
Do not eat as you drive. Though eating while walking or driving may appear to be a time saving mechanism, it does not help in preventing distractions.
The overall effort in preventing distractions on the road is to ensure that both you and your passengers are safe. Multitasking is not always possible for everyone. This therefore means that distracted drivers will often shift their attention intermittently. Road carnages are a detriment that should be eliminated by every individual. Besides, if you have any question or wish to report an issue, contact a car accident attorney. Failing to focus while driving and getting distracted is the lead cause of road crashes.
Anyone who has been driving cars for a while will vouch for the fact that driving in the rainy season is quite different from doing so in dry weather. When taking your car out on a rainy day, it is very likely that its tires will lose their grip on the road. Your vision will be dramatically affected as well. It becomes difficult to see other vehicles and read the road-safety signs. Getting a clear view of the road also becomes a challenge.
Other reasons why driving on a wet road is extremely risky is because when the road gets wet, oil and grime that have settled into it rise to the surface, making the road highly greasy and slippery. This makes it difficult to get traction.
Wondering what you can do to ensure safe rides this monsoon? Here are few tips for that.
- Drive Slow
One of the easiest and the most effective ways of preventing an accident on a slippery road is by driving slowly. Reducing speed ensures that a greater amount of the tire’s tread makes contact with the surface of the road, thereby giving you better traction. Keeping your pace steady, avoiding speeding and swerving, and shunning jerky movements at the time of braking, accelerating or turning will also be helpful.
- Keep Your Distance
You will do well to maintain a considerable distance from the vehicle in front of you as a safety measure. It takes a longer time to stop your car on a wet road than a dry one, even if your tires are of the highest quality and intended for being used on wet pavements. Hence, it is best not to drive too closely behind other cars.
Further, keep an eye out for brake lights flashed by the car ahead of you. It is also suggested to turn your headlights on so that other drivers can see you from a distance. Driving without cruise control will also keep you more alert.
- Keep the Lights On
Apart from your car’s headlights, make sure you turn on the lights at the right time. Bear in mind that you need not use fog lamps unless the visibility is very poor. This is because the rear and front fog lamps may distract other drivers. This also applies to the main beam headlamps as their glare can also leave other driver blinded momentarily. Use them as you would under normal circumstances.
- Do This If Your Car kids
So what happens if your car skids on a wet slippery road? Would you instantly start slamming the brakes? While that seems like the right thing to do, avoid doing so. By all means, apply the brakes, but in a firm and a steady manner. If your car has anti-lock brakes, apply more pressure to the brakes but avoid pumping them. Steer in the direction of the skid.
In case there is too much water on the road, your car may end up hydroplaning i.e. the tires of your car might lift away from the surface of the road and float on the water. In such cases, avoid slamming the brakes and gently take the foot off the accelerator. Press the clutch and allow the car to slow down by itself. Keep the steering in the direction of travel.
- Avoid Driving When Tired/Distracted
Driving in wet weather calls for very high levels of alertness, especially when driving in the dark. Hence, it is best to avoid driving if you’re feeling tired. If you must drive, then take regular breaks by pulling up at a safe spot and taking rest.
Apart from that avoid distractions such as using the cellphone, talking, eating, drinking, changing the radio station, turning around to hand items to the passengers in the backseat, playing with your children, and anything else that requires you to take your hands off the wheel.
- Check Your Tires
Driving on a wet road with a defective or a bald tire will make it difficult for you to stay safe. It is recommended that you check your tires for tread wear from time to time. Additionally, get the air pressure checked at least once a month. Ask the car mechanic to rotate the tires as part of the routine maintenance to ensure even wear on all sides.
Needless to say, if you live in a region which experiences a lot of rain, get tires that are designed particularly for slippery road conditions.
- Driving Through a Flood
Keep in mind that driving through a flood can be extremely dangerous and can cause serious damage to your car.
You never know how deep the flood water can be. If you do not see other cars driving through it, play it safe and avoid driving through it as well. The water may be carrying harmful submerged objects, or it could have a strong current which could sweep your car away.
It is always better to take another (safer) route. If you choose to drive through, however, keep the car at the highest point of the road and make sure your path is devoid of other cars through to the other end of the water. Other cars may stop, which would leave you stuck in the water as well.
Drive slowly and steadily as driving too fast might cause your car to hydroplane. Once you’ve built up speed, try not to slow down as that can result in the water flowing back to the radiator grille and getting into the engine or the exhaust pipe. Either of these can cause heavy and permanent damage to your car.
Once you reach the other end of the flood water, drive out of it carefully and make sure to test your brakes before resuming your journey.
Come rainy season and the roads everywhere are going to be wet and slippery. Driving safely can be challenging as you try to prevent your vehicle’s tires from swerving/slipping. Apart from that, it also becomes difficult for the driver to see the road clearly, and make quick safety-related decisions. However, you can keep danger out of your way by taking necessary and timely precautions. Adhering to the above safe-driving tips should be of immense help when it comes to dealing with wet roads. Do make sure to abide by them and you should be able to put all your wet-road-driving woes behind and stay safe and sound.
Author Bio: Rachel Oliver specializes in laws dealing with traffic defense and related niches. Updated with the latest happenings in the legal world, she shares her experiences and anecdotes through her write-ups on various websites. Interact with her through her Google+.
By Guest Author: Paul Colley
Car crashes are one of the leading causes of death of people between the ages of 15 to 20 years in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, car accidents cause 36 percent of “all deaths in this age group
A study conducted by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and State Farm Insurance in April 2011 analyzed over 800 crashes that involved teen drivers. It found that 75 percent of accidents were caused by teen driver error.
Teens & Car Accidents: Causes & Consequences
The following three common errors account for almost half of these crashes:
- Teens failed to survey the road ahead to detect and/or respond to hazards
- Driving too fast
- They were distracted by items inside and outside of the car
It is no surprise that parents often hesitate to hand over the car keys to their teenagers. If you are letting your teenager drive, make sure they are aware of and follow safe driving techniques to keep themselves safe on the road. Every teen driver can be subject to legal proceedings for driving or speeding carelessly. The situation gets worse if it is a case of driving under the influence
U.S. laws related to driving under the influence are strict and many state laws have zero tolerance for minors and alcohol. For example, driving under the influence in Texas will delay your teen’s driving privileges for 180 days (minor offense) and up to 2 years in the case of second or subsequent offenses. In addition to the suspended driving privileges, there are significant fines and classes that must be taken in order to get back your driving privileges.
The punishment is more severe with second or subsequent offenses and would likely include additional fines, court costs, and legal fees. That would be the best case, because more often than not, if a third party is involved and has sustained an injury on the account of an inebriated teen’s reckless driving behavior, there will be the added headache of fighting a skilled Austin personal injury attorney who will be fighting hard to secure the rights and privileges of the victim in the case.
Safety Measures: Let Technology Save the Day
The good news is parents can now monitor how their teen is driving thanks to technological developments. You can prevent your teens from speeding, encourage them to ignore the distractions on the road, and better protect them from a car crash. There are many safety gadgets available today that can provide a safer experience for your teens behind the wheel, helping them avoid car crashes.
Here are a few gadgets worth considering.
Hyundai’s Blue Link System
The 2012 Hyundai Sonata, Veloster and Sonata Hybrid come with the Blue Link telematic system. It automatically calls for help if there is a crash. Better yet, Hyundai’s Blue Link System alerts parents if their teens engage in unsafe behavior when driving. It also allows parents to better control the movement of their teens. For example, the Geo-Fence feature allows you to set boundaries beyond which your teen driver cannot go with the car. You can also set exclusionary boundaries for areas you do want your teen driver to go.
Another feature highly touted by parents is the curfew alerts feature. You can set the alert if you don’t want your teenaged son/daughter to drive the car after 11 P.M or even midnight. If they do, you will be immediately notified by text message, a phone call or email. Last but not least, the Blue Link system allows you to set speed alerts. If your teen driver crosses a particular speed limit, the system will contact you.
This system reduces the chances of your teens engaging in risky behavior behind the wheel.
Ford’s MyKey System
Ford’s MyKey system is standard on most Lincoln and Ford models. Using a programmable key, this system allows parents to control the way their teenage son or daughter drives. You can use this key to set a speed limit as well as limit the stereo volume. Better yet, there is an option that allows you to keep the sound system from turning on unless everyone inside the car has fastened their seatbelts. A sound also chimes as soon as the car speed reaches 45, 55 and 65 mph.
In addition, the MyKey system comes with optional hands-free control for cell phones. It can even read text messages automatically to the driver or block them altogether.
This is a very useful Android and iPhone app that helps you keep your teen driver safe behind the wheel. Using the GPS of the driver’s phone, this app determines the prevailing local text message and hands-free laws, and also alerts your teen drivers so they can comply. The best part of this app is that it not only reminds your teen drivers not to text, but also rewards them for following safe driving techniques.
Your teen driver can start earning rewards after 500 miles of safe driving. Rewards are given in forms of points, which can be translated into $5 worth of gift cards at various leading retailers such as Macy’s and Amazon.
This system from Mercedes-Benz is available in all 2013 model-year cars. Common features include speeding alerts and geo-fencing to give parents better control of the way their teens drive. It also comes with a “breadcrumbs” feature known as a Driving Journal. It tracks the records of where and how your car has been driven.
Mercedes-Benz mbrace2 allows you to generate a travel history that appears on an online map. Using the geo-fencing feature, parents can set up 15 geographical locations where their teens are not allowed to take the car.
These safety gadgets come in handy in the time of need. Teen drivers are prone to accidents and gifting your son or daughter a safety device can help him or her stay safe. Installing a safety device or an app is not enough; you also need to set rules and work collaboratively with your teens. Working with your teen and using the necessary safety gadgets will go a long way in helping him or her become a safer driver.
Paul Colley is an attorney at Colley & Colley, LLP based in Austin, Texas. With his expertise in handling personal injury cases, Paul has recovered more than $50 million for clients and helped personal injury victims fight for their rights.
Readying high school students to get behind the wheel involves more than just a few quick laps around the school parking lot. It involves proper education on the rules of the road and safe driving practices, along with the acute awareness of the many dangers. Distracted driving counts as a colossal danger, and schools across the nation are bringing awareness to the issue using a number of methods. In fact, April is Distracted Driving Month, so what better time than now to learn about safety? Here are what some high schools are doing:
“Heads Up!” Poster Contest in Rye, NY
For the past four years, students at Rye High School have been transforming one of their art classes into a chance to make distracted driving awareness posters. The school took on the program in collaboration with the Rye YMCA and Rye Arts Center, launching a “Heads Up!” poster contest in the school. Students in a select digital photography class first reviewed a video about distracted driving then designed their own posters by combining their own photos with statistics on the hazardous practice. The program combines skills leaned in class with real-word issues, bringing another layer of education to the school.
Traveling “Save a Life Tour” Stops off in Grayslake, IL
Grayslake Central High School was just one of the stops for the Michigan-based “Save a Life Tour” that is heightening awareness of distracted driving throughout schools in suburban Chicago. The Grayslake students took a day off from their physical education courses to participate in the “Save Life Tour” program, which includes videos, seminars and a distracted-driving simulator. The Chicago-area tour was sponsored by a local hospital, which funded the program’s eight-hour stop at each school to pass along the message and provide hands-on examples of the consequences of distracted driving.
Year-long Distracted Driving Campaign in Vandercook Lake, MI
Promoting awareness about the dangers of distracted driving is an ongoing mission at Vandercook Lake High School. The school launched a year-long series of campaigns on the issue, thanks to a $2,000 grant from Michigan’s Strive 4 a Safer Driver program. Grant money must be used to bring awareness to the importance of safe driving, with the overall goal of reducing the number of severe crashes, fatalities and injuries. The activities kicked off soon after the school year began, and continued throughout the year with special assemblies, driving surveys and freebies for students such as ice scrapers and key chains.
How Your School Can Get Involved
Schools have several options for spreading the word about the dangers of distracted driving to their students, including:
- Hiring a traveling program, such as the “Save Life Tour,” to stop at your area’s schools
- Reviewing opportunities presented by your local law enforcement or government offices
- Setting up your own campaign to bring awareness to the issue; strategies could include:
- Free giveaways that remind students of distracted driving dangers
- Special assemblies, speakers and classes that illustrate the hazards
- Regular reviews of safe driving practices through surveys and practice tests. You can find free driving test examples online.
- Contests for making posters, T-shirts, videos or other projects themed around the issue