Posts Tagged safety

Fridays Are the Most Dangerous Day for Driving: How to Stay Safe

If you typically drive home from the office on a Friday daydreaming about the weekend’s plans, you might want to refocus your thoughts and save the fun until you arrive safely home.

According to a recent study by Nationwide Insurance, Friday was found to be the most dangerous day of the week for driving, with an average of 4,664 insurance claims per day.  Over half of these accidents happen during commuting hours, making driving to work much more risky that people may realize.

What’s the cause?  Experts surmise that Friday drivers are distracted by thoughts of weekend plans or in a rush home to get started on them, so their attention is not as focused on driving as on other days of the week.  Studies also reported that rear-end collisions are the most frequent type of accidents to occur during commuting hours.

So what can you do to keep yourself safe while driving to and from work on Fridays and any other day of the week for that matter?

Don’t tailgate.  With most commuting accidents involving rear-end collisions, keeping a safe distance between you and the car in front of you can go a long way toward preventing an accident.  Safety experts recommend leaving at least 3 to 4 seconds of driving distance between you and the car in front of you.  If roads are wet or slippery, that distance should be doubled.  Similarly, if you notice someone tailgating you, switch lanes and let them pass.

Keep your eyes on the road.  While it’s an obvious suggestion, it’s a valuable one.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that you’re 23 times more likely to crash if you text while driving. Distracted driving doesn’t just include cell phone use.  Eating, putting on makeup, using your navigation system, or adjusting your stereo can all take your eyes and mind off the road and put you and others in danger.  For the safest commute, keep your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.

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Survey Reports on Distracted Driving Among Teens

Despite laws banning cell phones while driving and increased awareness of the dangers of doing so, it’s a common fact that cell phone use while driving is still a widespread occurrence.  Perhaps most discouraging to the issue is that much of this distracted driving occurs amongst young drivers, which is not only a safety concern, but also might indicate that the problem could be deeply rooted for future generations.

A recent national survey by Consumer Reports helps quantify this issue and put it into perspective.  In a survey of over 1,000 drivers ages 16 to 21, almost half confessed to talking on a handheld phone while driving in the past 30 days, 30% said they texted, 8% operated smartphone apps, and 7% used email or social media.  An even greater percentage of respondents reported seeing their peers engage in these activities:  84% witnessed talking on a phone, over 70% witnessed texting, and about 30% witnessed peers using apps, email, or social media.

The interesting part of the survey is that while many respondents openly admitted to this behavior, almost all of them considered text­ing, using smart-phone apps, or accessing the Internet to be dangerous while driving.  About 80% thought it was very dangerous, and 63% thought talking on a handheld phone was dangerous.

And they are right to think so.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motor vehicle crashes are the top cause of death for teenagers. It was reported that 11% of teenage drivers who died in crashes in 2010 were distracted.

On the upside, though, the survey also found some positive results toward a reduction of the problem.  Almost 75% of respondents claimed to have stopped or reduced distracted driving based on safety concerns, 60% said they were influenced by reading or hearing about the problem, 40% were influenced by laws banning the activities, and 30% were persuaded by urging from family members. 

Consumer Reports’ survey also found that having peers in the car may help curb distracted driving. Almost 50 percent said they were less likely to use a cell phone when friends were passengers. One reason may be that many young people are speaking up; almost half said they had asked a driver to stop using a phone in the car because they feared for their safety.

If you are a parent, friend, or sibling, keep these stats in mind and set a good example.  Pull over to a safe place if you need to use the phone, and speak up if you’re riding with a distracted driver.

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What To Do After an Auto Accident

Automobile accidents are all too common.  In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that a car collision occurs every 60 seconds on U.S. roadways.  With statistics like these in the millions per year, it’s important to be prepared for how to handle an accident if one unexpectedly crosses your path.

1.    Stay calm:  The most important rule of thumb is to remain calm.  Succumbing to panic can make a bad situation worse.  Take a few deep breaths before assessing the situation.

2.    Call for help:  If anyone is hurt, call 911 immediately. Even if there are no injuries, call the police to file an official accident report.

3.    Be safe:  Put on your flashers and set up flares or cones if necessary.  If the accident is minor, move the cars to a safe place out of the way of traffic.

4.    Exchange information:  Get as much information from the other driver(s) as possible, including their name, phone number, address, insurance company, policy number, driver’s license number, license plate number, and vehicle make, model and VIN.  Do not admit fault to anyone.

5.    Gather information:  Plenty of other information besides that of the other driver involved can be very helpful.  It is also advised to get contact information for any witnesses and passengers, and to note the name and badge number of any officials involved on the scene.  You can also jot down your own personal account of the accident while it is fresh in your memory, and take pictures of the scene using your cell phone.

6.    Contact your insurance company:  Report the accident to your insurance company immediately.  Be aware of your policy’s time limits for filing a claim.

Automobile accidents are an unfortunate but practically inevitable part of driving a car.  Being prepared with the above steps can help ease the stress and make the process easier.

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