Driver on the verge of road rage

Where Is Road Rage The Worst?

A new survey has come out listing those states and cities with the worst instances of road rage. This study, using some different methodology has some surprising results compared to studies in the past.

Past studies we have written about were sponsored by AutoVantage, an online insurance company. To conduct those studies, AutoVantage conducted phone interviews with 2500 drivers in 25 major metropolitan areas. The latest study, conducted by AutoInsuranceCenter, another online insurance company, looked at 65,535 Instagram posts that were hashtagged #RoadRage. The results of this study showed where and when the greatest number of road rage incidents were happening.

According to the Instagram posts, the greatest number of road rage incidents occurred:

  • During the month of August.
  • On Fridays.
  • During the hours of 5:00pm and 7:00pm.

Surprisingly, the state with the greatest number of Instagram road rage posts was Hawaii. A vacation paradise isn’t normally what most people would connect with road rage. However, as anyone who lives in a tourists center, like Orlando for example, knows large numbers of tourists trying to navigate around a strange city can be extremely frustrating. Tourists also tend to bring their bad and discourteous driving behaviors with them when they go on vacation and that can also be very frustrating.

The last AutoVantage study listed Houston, followed by Atlanta as the cities where road rage was most likely to be encountered. The new study by AutoInsuranceCenter lists Los Angeles, followed by New York City as the worst cities. Houston and Atlanta fell to eighth and tenth place respectively.

A study that depends on Instagram messages may not be highly accurate because it depends on people posting an Instagram while they’re still angry enough to do something about it. If they were to wait until they got home, they may have calmed down enough to let it go. However, drivers who tend to post on Instagram while driving are probably adding to the problem by not watching the road ahead.

To avoid road rage situations:

  • Pay attention to the road ahead.
  • Don’t use your phone or try to send or read any kind of messages while driving.
  • Don’t speed but don’t drive too slowly either.
  • Don’t tailgate.
  • If you aren’t sure where you are or where you’re going, get off the road long enough to get your bearings so that you don’t hold up traffic.
  • Don’t respond to an angry driver.
  • Don’t try to retaliate against another driver, no matter what they may have done.
  • Don’t stop to confront an angry driver.
  • When dealing with an angry driver, never roll down your windows or get out of your car.

For more information, visit: #RoadRage – Instagram Posts Reveal America’s Biggest Frustrations Behind the Wheel

Spring break apps

Stay Safe With Spring Break Apps

For those headed out of town for spring break, whether it be to a sunny beach or a snowy ski slope, your vacation can create a lifetime of fond memories or, with one mistake, a lifetime of regret. Here are a couple of spring break apps to help you avoid that lifetime of regret.

A lot of students on spring break give in to the urge to drink and the lack of judgment that comes with alcohol use can lead to trouble. Police in spring break locales are beefing up their DUI patrols and are on the lookout for any driver that might show signs of being under the influence of alcohol. It’s such a big problem in spring break cities that the local police have no tolerance for driving under the influence and are very unforgiving.

One way to stay out of trouble is to decide on a plan before you go out to drink. If you decide beforehand that you’ll use a designated driver or call a cab to get home, chances are that you’ll stick with that decision but, if you wait until after you’ve been drinking and your judgment is affected, you may not make such smart choices. If you feel you must drink, here are a couple of spring break apps that, hopefully, will keep you out of trouble.

ENDUI (as in End DUI) is an app that warns you if you’ve had too much to drink. The user plugs in their sex, height, and weight and then, by telling it how many drinks have been consumed, it calculates your approximate Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). The app also has games that can test your reaction time. If you decide, before you go out, to limit your drinking, this can be a good tool to warn you when you’ve reached your limit. However, the app only gives an approximate BAC and can’t be used to determine your actual BAC. One drink, such as certain cocktails can have several shots and have up to four times the alcohol content of a typical drink. Only a breathalyzer or blood test can give an accurate BAC reading.

Another app called “SaferRide”, created by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), doesn’t try to determine your BAC but, instead, can locate and call a local taxi service for anyone who needs a ride home. It can also hold a list of designated drivers that the user pre-programs into the app. This app is ideal for those on vacation in an unfamiliar city.

Both of these handy spring break apps are free and available for download:

ENDUI Apple iOS or Android.

SaferRideAndroid, or Apple iOS.

Remember that buzzed driving is impaired driving. Make your spring break a fond memory and not a regret.

Florida Motorcycle deaths

Florida Leads Nation In Motorcycle Deaths

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has compiled data on motorcycle deaths for 2013 and, for the nation overall, the data looks somewhat promising but for Florida, the news isn’t good at all.

Nationwide, there were 4,668 motorcycle deaths reported in 2013, a drop of six percent over the 4,986 killed the year before. The 88,000 motorcycle injuries also reflected a five percent drop over 2012.

In compiling the data, the NHTSA researchers found that:

  • Twenty-five percent of motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes in 2013 were riding their vehicles without valid motorcycle licenses.
  • In 2013, motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes were found to have the highest percentage of alcohol-impaired drivers than any other vehicle type (27% for motorcycles, 23% for passenger cars, 21% for light trucks, and 2% for large trucks).
  • Forty percent of motorcycle riders who died in single-vehicle crashes in 2013 were alcohol-impaired.
  • Motorcycle riders killed in traffic crashes at night were almost four times more frequently alcohol-impaired than those killed during the day.
  • In States without universal helmet laws, 59 percent of motorcyclists killed in 2013 were not wearing helmets, as compared to 8 percent in States with universal helmet laws.

In spite of the fact that California and Texas have greater populations and the number of registered motorcycles in California beats Florida by 33 percent, Florida had the highest motorcycle death rate in the nation in 2013. With a smaller population and fewer registered motorcycles, how could Florida have so many more motorcycle deaths?

Helmet use

California has a mandatory helmet law but Florida doesn’t. In Florida, a motorcycle rider over the age of 21 with $10,000 worth of liability insurance doesn’t have to wear a helmet. Texas has a law similar to Florida’s. NHTSA estimates that helmets saved 1,630 motorcyclists’ lives in 2013, and that 715 more could have been saved if all motorcyclists had worn helmets.

Alcohol use

In Florida, 34 percent of all motorcyclists killed in crashes had a BAC of .01 or higher, meaning they were impaired at the time of their death and 29 percent were legally drunk with a BAC level of .08 or higher.

States by Population

Registered Motorcycles *

Mandatory Helmet Law

Helmet Use Percent

.08 BAC

Motorcycle Deaths

California

801,803

Yes

90%

24%

435

Texas

438,551

No

38%

37%

457

Florida

574,176

No

49%

29%

467

*According to Motorcycle Roads.com

Motorcyclists are already a lot more vulnerable to death and injury than those who are protected by the structure of the typical motor vehicle. Smart motorcyclists are trained on how to ride safely and know to ride sober and with all the protective gear available.

For more information, visit: NHTSA 2013 Traffic Safety Facts – Motorcycles

Poor driving choices by teens

Some Teen Safe Driving Choices Are Still Dangerous

Researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia recently conducted a study to gauge teen attitudes on safe driving choices regarding cell phones. The researchers saw some encouraging signs but say there’s still a long way to go before cell phone use by teens while driving is a thing of the past.

To conduct their research, the researchers conducted several focus groups with 16 to 18 year old drivers. The questions asked of the teen drivers were designed to get an overall view of teen perceptions regarding cell phone use while driving with the intent of gathering information to help develop future interventions to reduce risky driving choices by teens.

According to the head researcher, Catherine McDonald, PhD, RN, it was encouraging to see that teens recognized that cell phone use, texting, and use of social media are dangerous behind-the-wheel. When asked what methods teens used to prevent the use of cell phones while driving, some teens listed methods such as turning off the cell phone or pulling off the road before making or answering a call. However, some teens listed choices such as waiting for a red light or until they were on familiar roads before diverting their attention to the cell phone.

While it’s good that they are considering ways to reduce their cell phone use, those choices such as waiting for red lights or familiar roads are still dangerous choices that take their eyes and mental attention off the road.

  • Choosing to use hands-free communication devices has been shown to be no safer than the use of hand-held devices.
  • A driver’s attention at red lights is important too. Not noticing that the light has turned green can hold up traffic behind and lead angry drivers to try to retaliate.
  • Research shows that hands-free devices are still distracting for up to 27 seconds after hanging up.
  • Waiting for familiar roads is a bad choice because most traffic collisions happen within 25 miles of home and at speeds below 45 mph. Drivers become complacent on those familiar roads and that leads to even more distractions.

According to the researchers, until more effective methods are developed to pry teens away from their cell phones while driving, parents are still the primary influence in promoting safer choices by teens. Setting a good example and insisting on strict rules for cell phone use while driving, parents can help keep their teens safe on the road.

Parents Don’t Understand The Dangers Of Teen Driving

A father’s grief following the death of his 17 year old son in a single car crash led him to write a book and produce a video to warn parents about the dangers of teen driving. The father, Tim Hollister, published his book Not So Fast: Parenting Your Teen Through the Dangers of Driving in 2013 and released the companion video on the ninth anniversary of his son’s death.

Teen drivers die at a disproportionate rate compared to all other age groups. In 2013, 1,691 teen drivers were killed and 177,000 were injured in car crashes. An additional 2,642 passengers, occupants of other vehicles, and pedestrians were killed in crashes involving a teen driver.

We have written articles on the dangers cited by Hollister countless times in this and other blogs but teens keep dying the same way month after month. Despite all the training and testing, teens die;

Maybe, what it will take to get the word out to parents is the advice of a grieving father who knows now what he wishes he had known while his son was still alive.

The most important message is to not rely on driver’s ed, state tests, or common sense to keep your teen alive on the road. Parents must be constantly vigilant and set strict rules for their teen driver if they want them to survive into adulthood.

For more information visit: Not So Fast: Parenting Your Teen Through the Dangers of Driving