Texting and Driving: What happens when a vehicle comes in your lane.
January 20, 2012
You can read about it several times a week; a driver who is either texting, using a cell phone, or engaged in some other form of distracted driving, drifts over into the oncoming lane causing a crash. This type of crash is becoming all too common and unfortunately, death is often the result. Head-on crashes are the worst type of crash with the greatest potential for serious injuries and death. However, a driver in your lane doesn’t automatically have to result in a head-on crash if you are prepared.
To be prepared for the unexpected drivers should always use the S.I.P.D.E method of defensive driving. That is:
- Search the driving scene – Always be aware of what is happening in front of you, to the sides, and behind.
- Identify hazards – Be on the lookout for anything that could be a potential hazard whether that be a driver about to pull out of a parking lot or a driver ahead who is obviously distracted and isn’t looking at the roadway.
- Predict what may happen – When trying to predict what the other driver might do, in order to best prepare yourself, always predict the worst thing that could possibly happen.
- Decide what you will do – Having a decision already in mind if that other driver should do the worst will allow you additional precious time to escape a collision situation.
- Execute your decision – If the worst thing happens, you will have to put your plan into action in order to escape a collision.
Note: Sometimes you may not be able to completely escape a collision, when planning and executing your decision, you may have to choose to lessen the crash forces rather than escape a crash altogether.
If a driver ahead should suddenly swerve into your lane, you may have very few choices but, to avoid or reduce the severity of the crash, follow these tips:
- Honk your horn to alert the other driver.
- Don’t try to swerve to the left into his lane to avoid a crash, he may realize what he is doing and try to swerve back into his lane at the same time.
- Rather than face a head-on crash, it is better to go off the road to the right. There may be hazards there too so steer to avoid them and try to quickly slow to a stop. It is better to go into some bushes than to crash into something hard.
- Sometimes you may face the very tough choice of hitting a car on the right to avoid a head-on crash. Hitting a vehicle that is going in the same direction as you, while still very serious, is often safer than facing a head-on crash.
Teen Passengers of Teen Drivers
October 18, 2011
As teen passengers in a car with a teen driver, would you or could you ask the driver to:
- stop texting,
- stop talking on a cell phone,
- buckle up,
- not drink and drive,
- slow down, or;
- pay more attention to the road ahead?
All of these activities are dangerous yet teen passengers of a teen driver seem to be reluctant to ask the driver to drive more safely and they pay dearly as a result.
Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens and more than half of the teens killed in car crashes each year are passengers of another teen driver. A study by The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia found that 60 percent of teens think inexperience heavily influences safety, but only 15 percent consider their peers to be inexperienced. Apparently, teens equate experience with the ability to pass the driving test and earn a license rather than time on the road and exposure to a variety of driving situations.
A recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, showed that teen drivers are about 50 percent more likely to crash in the first month of unsupervised driving than they are after a full year of experience driving on their own, and they are nearly twice as likely to crash in their first month as they are after two full years of experience.
Distracted driving is one of the leading causes for crashes among all age groups but it is especially high among teen drivers. Teen passengers add to the distractions and the risk of a crash increases with each additional teen passenger yet only 10 percent of teens realize that carrying teen passengers increases the risk of a crash.
Another factor leading to teen passenger deaths is that teens have the lowest rate of seat belt use and they are less likely to wear a seat belt when they are a passenger of another teen than when they are driving alone.
The website www.teendriversource.org, has produced an informational brochure called “Teach Your Teen To Be A Smart Passenger”. Parents continue to be the strongest influence in a teen’s life and, by setting strong rules for teens, both as a driver and a passenger, they can help prevent some of the dangerous situations that teens are prone to get into.
Ford Driving Clinics Coming to Schools
March 22, 2011
Ford’s Driving Skills for Life, a group focused on teen driving safety will be going around schools to set up driving clinics for teens. Ford DSFL is focused on correcting the most common teen driving mistakes which are; speeding, spacing, vehicle handling, and distractions.
They teach these in their Ford driving clinics through 3 different exercises for teens. The goal is for the teens to experience first-hand how the lack of training or knowledge may lead to disaster down the line. The three exercises are:
- Vehicle handling – In this one, the rear wheels of the car are intentionally loose, causing the vehicle to skid when approaching turns. The goal of this exercise is to teach teens what to do in situations like that.
- Distracted Driving Course – The goal of this is to show that the inside of a vehicle is full of distractions — and ways on how to deal with them while staying focused on driving.
- Impaired Driving Course – Students will be wearing “fatal vision” goggles that impair vision, to show that drivers are not truly able to operate a vehicle under the influence.
The Ford DSFL tour is a 30-city, 15-state driving clinic to be held in high schools. For a full listing of schedules, check out their Ford DSFL Site.
Photo Courtesy of: Ford Driving Skills for Life
5 Teen Driving Safety Tips
January 11, 2011
Tomes can be written about teen driving safety tips but some of the more important ones, are usually the ones that are both the most simple and sometimes-overlooked. Most people know that drinking while driving is never a good idea, regardless of if it is a new driver, or older driver. But there are several other reminders to pass on to family and friends.
Here are a few of the better teen driving safety tips:
Contracts with parents – This is by far the simplest and easiest to do to keep teens safe: maintain a Parent-Teen driving contract or logbook. It could be as simple as a set of dos and don’ts from parents to their teens; along with the appropriate consequences should the teen break any of the terms of agreement. A logbook is helpful to limit access to the vehicle and monitor your teens use and responsibility toward driving and care. Studies show that when teens are not given unlimited access to the vehicle, that they take better care of it and are involved in fewer crashes and receive les tickets. The logbook can be as simple as a teen noting down the times of departure and arrival if the vehicle will be used.
Don’t be a chauffeur – A teen driving safety tip is for teens not to become their friend’s personal driver. Just because a teen is able to drive does not mean they are capable of handling the distraction and responsibility for their passengers. Many states have enacted laws prohibiting learner’s permit holders from having passengers under 21, and for newly licensed drivers limiting passengers as well. More passengers equate to more variables to lose focus on while driving.
Learn from defensive driving, not by driving around – Driver’s education and defensive driving courses are specifically designed to create a controlled environment for new drivers to hone their skills and learn strategies for safe driving. Busy streets are not for learning defensive driving on the fly.
Buckle up! – Teach a teen driver to practice buckling up before even starting the vehicle. Wearing your safety belt reduces your chances of being killed or injured by up to 50 percent. As the driver, it keeps you at wheel and in control of the vehicle, which can help you react to other compounding situations in a crash. For a passenger buckling up reduces their body of being thrown from the vehicle, crashing into the interior of the vehicle or other occupants, and reduces the damage caused internally by the force to their organs. Making a constant habit of buckling up before turning on the ignition will go a long way to ensuring their safety and avoiding a citation.
Distracted Driving Mobile App – Most distracted driving mobile applications are designed to disable a mobile phone’s features while the phone is moving. This is a great way to avoid the temptation to answer the phone or a text while behind the wheel. Another feature for many of these apps is to designate locations through their Global Positioning System (GPS) that are unsafe allowing parents to be notified, should their teen find themselves in those spots.
Vehicle crashes are the number one cause of deaths for teens, make it a priority to raise vehicle safety awareness.
What is being done to Stop Distracted Driving?
October 12, 2010
Each day there is more research conducted, articles written and information available about the dangers of distracted driving. This increase in awareness is highlighting the growing problem all drivers face on the roadways. Distracted driving has been estimated to cause over 11,500 deaths in the last two years. But what has been done to eliminate the problem? What initiatives are organizations and individuals doing to combat distracted driving?
When you Google “distracted driving groups” you will find varied results of individuals banding together to increase awareness on distracted driving, on a local or country-wide basis. The organizations can be as simple as asking people to pledge against distracted driving, like Oprah’s No Phone Zone, or wearing thumb socks to show a driver’s support for not texting while driving. These groups establish their presence online, in various social networking services, making it easier to distribute the message.
With the nationwide awareness on the shocking statistics of texting while driving, the Federal, state and local governments and municipalities have proposed and enacted laws to prohibit cell phone usage while on the road. So far, more than 30 states have a law that places a ban on texting while behind the wheel, urging drivers to think twice before they pull out their phones. The type of penalties and amount of fines range from location to location. Currently, the options are being weighed on how to effectively further enforce texting ban laws.
How to stop phone use while on the road? Simple. Install a phone/text-blocker application. These applications interface the cell phone to the vehicle’s Global Positioning System (GPS) to see if the car is in motion. If so, the application disables the cell phone’s call and/or texting features. With crash-risk increasing four times/talking on the phone and 23 times/texting, it can help discipline the driver into not relying on their phones so much while on the road, until they break the habit.
Several local/teen driving advocacy groups have set up mock crashes to remind teen drivers (the group most likely to engage in texting while driving) what could potentially happen if they text and drive at the same time. In most places, the mock crashes are set up at the entrance of the school depicting the wrecked cars, actors as teen drivers, playing dead with phone in-hand. It is a shocking, yet accurate statement that reminds teen drivers of the potential consequences.
There are also trial course runs, usually hosted by a state’s Division of Motor Vehicles along with several advocates against distracted driving. They allow drivers to experience firsthand what could happen should they attempt to text while driving. Set in an enclosed space, with only traffic cones as obstacles and are operated at low speeds. These courses are designed to show drivers that they are unable to handle both tasks, by challenging them to maneuver their vehicle safety and skillfully while driving distracted.
Advertising and Videos
Various organizations release ads that are either funny or serious in order to make their point. Some organizations do their advertisements a step above by involving the people themselves. They create contests asking drivers if they have what it takes to get the message across, in a video format. The advantages of these types of contests include maintaining a limited budget, creating enthusiasm, spurring creativity and raising safety awareness in teen drivers.
People are motivated to change their behavior in different ways. One or all of these approaches can be incorporated to stop distracted driving. Take a proactive approach to know the dangers and help stop distracted driving.