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Decreasing Distracted Driving

According to the CDC, “Each day in the United States, approximately 9 people are killed and more than 1,000 injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver”. 

We have to find a way to decrease these injuries and deaths. A big way we feel as though this could be decreased is by a decrease in cell phone use while driving. 

“During daylight hours across America, approximately 481,000 drivers are using cell phones while driving” (NHTSA).

“47 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam ban texting while driving” yet, “In 2017, 42% of high school students who drove in the past 30 days reported sending a text or email while driving”. 

So how can we each do our part in keeping everyone on the roads less distracted and more safe?

CDC offers advice: 

Give clear instructions – Give new drivers simple, clear instructions not to use their wireless devices while driving. Before new drivers get their licenses, discuss the fact that taking their eyes off the road – even for a few seconds – could cost someone injury or even death.

Lead by example – No one should text and drive. Be an example for others and if you need to text or talk on the phone, pull over to a safe place. Set rules for yourself and your household regarding distracted driving.

Become informed and be active – Tell family, friends and organizations to which you belong about the importance of driving without distractions. Take information to your kids’ schools and ask that it be shared with students and parents.

Top Ten Driving Distractions

Distracted driving is anything done that takes your attention off of driving or the road. Many drivers don’t realize how much of an impact it makes taking your eyes off the road for even a second.

Centers for Disease Contorl and Prevention stated that, “When you send or read a text message, you take your eyes off the road for about 5 seconds, long enough to cover the length a football field while driving at 55 mph”.

We wanted to share common distractions so that drivers are made aware and can consciously change their habits of distracted driving.

Here are the top ten distractions posted by Arlington Toyota:

  1. “Generally distracted or ‘lost in thought’
  2. Cell phone use
  3. Outside person, object or event
  4. Other occupants
  5. Using a device brought into the car
  6. Eating or drinking
  7. Adjusting audio or climate controls
  8. Using devices or controls to operate the vehicle
  9. Moving objects
  10. Smoking-related”

Back to School Part 2: Riding the Bus

A large portion of students take the bus to school. In fact, the National Safety Council shared that, “ Some 25 million students nationwide begin and end their day with a trip on a school bus. Designed for safety, with flashing lights, giant mirrors, stop-sign arms and that bright yellow color, students are 70 times more likely to get to school safely when taking a school bus instead of traveling by car”.

According to the National Highway Traffic Administration, “The greatest risk to a child isn’t riding a bus, but approaching or leaving one. From 2008 to 2017, there were 264 school-age children killed in school-transportation-related crashes.”

It is important to create a safe experience for those children who do take the bus. Here are some tips provided the National Safety Council on school bus safety:

“At the Bus Stop:

  • Arrive early at the bus stop – at least five minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive
  • Stand 6 feet (or three giant steps) away from the curb while waiting for the bus
  • Supervise young children

Around the Bus

  • Cross in front of the bus – at least 10 feet (or five giant steps) – and make eye contact with the driver before crossing
  • Never walk behind the bus
  • If you drop something near the bus, do not pick it up; tell the bus driver instead

Getting On/Off the Bus

  • Wait until the bus has stopped and the door opens before approaching the bus or standing up on the bus
  • Use the handrail
  • Secure any loose or hanging objects like straps on a backpack or drawstrings on a hood

Behavior on the Bus:

  • Buckle up if seat belts are available
  • Stay in your seat keeping head, arms and papers inside the bus, and talk quietly
  • Keep aisles clear of books and bags”

Back to School Part 1: Walking/Biking to School

“The percentage of students walking or biking to school has decreased dramatically over time, from 42 percent in 1969 to only 10 percent in 2017” (next city).

According to a study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Time, convenience, distance, weather and safety were barriers to walking or biking to school”. Safety is one of the larger areas of concern when it comes to having your children walk or bike to school. Children’s National stated that “In 2014, over 400 children were injured every day in traffic crashes”’

The goal is to make walking and biking to school safer and more normalized. 

“At an individual level, walking and biking can boost students’ health, physical activity, and even their concentration in school.” Walking and biking would also play a positive environmental role in decreasing the number cars on the road.

Here are some tips provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on making biking and walking to School safer so that we can better the health of our children and our environment

Walking

  • “Use the sidewalk whenever possible, and if there isn’t a sidewalk, walk on the edge of the street facing traffic.
  • Whenever they are available, use marked crosswalks to cross the street, and look left-right-left for vehicles or bikes before crossing.
  • Make sure you never play, push or shove others when you walk around traffic.
  • Everyone should watch the road, not their phones.
  • Children under 10 should be accompanied while walking”

Biking

  • “Always wear a correctly fitted helmet, and securely fasten the chin strap.
  • Ride in the same direction as traffic, and follow traffic signs and signals.
  • Stay in the bike lane whenever possible.
  • Never use electronics while riding – they are distracting.”

Combating Impaired Driving

It is illegal everywhere in America to drive under any influence and for good reason. 

Alcohol is not the only substance that affects the way you drive. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration posted a few of the ways substances can impair driving 

  • “Alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs impair the ability to drive because they slow coordination, judgment, and reaction times.
  • Cocaine and methamphetamine can make drivers more aggressive and reckless.
  • Using two or more drugs at the same time, including alcohol, can amplify the impairing effects of each drug a person has consumed.
  • Some prescription and over-the-counter medicines can cause extreme drowsiness, dizziness, and other side effects. Read and follow all warning labels before driving, and note that warnings against ‘operating heavy machinery’ include driving a vehicle.”

They reported that there has been a, “48% increase in weekend nighttime driviers testing positive for THC from 2007 to 2013-2014”.

Misconceptions that marijuana doesn’t impair you are false. 

“Research shows that marijuana impairs motor skills, lane tracking and cognitive functions (Robbe et al., 1993; Moskowitz, 1995; Hartman & Huestis, 2013). A 2015 study on driving after smoking cannabis stated that THC in marijuana also hurts a driver’s ability to multitask, a critical skill needed behind the wheel. “

This issue has not been taken lightly. In fact, “The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) announced a new $2.3 million grant program today to help combat drug-impaired driving on America’s roads.”

Airbag Use/Safety

It is well known that when in an accident your airbag will usually deploy. The use of an airbag is to slow your forward motion, lighten the blow of hitting the interior of your car and expand the square footage of the impact. Not everyone knows how that works or how useful an airbag really is. 

Popular Science explains here exactly what triggers that inflation: 

“The accelerometer keeps track of how quickly the speed of your vehicle is changing. When your car hits another car—or wall or telephone pole or deer—the accelerometer triggers the circuit. The circuit then sends an electrical current through the heating element, which is kind of like the ones in your toaster, except it heats up a whole lot quicker.This ignites the charge, often solid pellets of sodium azide (NaN3), which explodes. The explosion produces nitrogen gas (N2~) that fills the deflated nylon airbag (packed in your steering column, dashboard or car door) at about 200 miles per hour. The whole reaction takes a mere 1/25 of a second.”

The idea is actually that the airbag will be deflating by the time your head hits it.

According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration frontal air bags have saved around 50,457 lives from 1987 to 2017. These numbers will continue to grow as long as you are sitting back in your seat and wearing your seatbelt! 

Consequences of Speeding

According to National Highway Traffic Safety administration, “In 2017, speeding killed 9,717 people, accounting for more than a quarter (26%) of all traffic fatalities that year.”

We all know that everyone is busy and doing one thing after another. Rushing is common and everyone wants to get where they’re going as soon as possible.

It is important to remember there that getting there at all is more important than getting there  fast. Speeding causes accidents and harms the driver, passengers and others on the road. Taking a step back to think about the repercussions of speeding may change your mind about the need to rush. 

NHTSA offered a list of the consequences of speeding that go beyond the most important consequence, crashing.

  • “Greater potential for loss of vehicle control;
  • Reduced effectiveness of occupant protection equipment;
  • Increased stopping distance after the driver perceives a danger;
  • Increased degree of crash severity leading to more severe injuries;
  • Economic implications of a speed-related crash; and
  • Increased fuel consumption/cost.”

If you are involved in a crash involving speeding of a driver give us a call for a free consultation at 618.462.1077.

Common Cycling Injuries

Along with riding can sometimes be falls and injuries. There are a lot of common injuries that can be identified and treated. However, if an injury is persisting you should get it checked out promptly to ensure the right treatment to get back on track. 

Here are some of the most common biking accidents according to cycling weekly:

Impact Injuries:

  • Concussions
  • Broken Bones (The most common break is the collarbone)
  • Road Rash (“This is grazing of the skin caused by hitting, and often skidding along, the tarmac”)

Lower Back Pain:

“Hours spent curled over the handlebars mean that one of the most common injuries cyclist suffer with is lower back pain.” Injury to your lower back can cause injury elsewhere so it is important to evaluate, treat and adapt to not further injure yourself. 

Knee Pain:

Knee pain can be caused by riding a bike that isn’t a good fit for you. For example if the saddle is too high or low. 

Wrist arm hand and neck pain

“Pains around the neck and wrists are often caused when too much pressure is being transmitted through the upper body.”

Neck pain can be caused if the handle bars are not high enough.

Wrist pain can be caused if the angle of your handlebars is not correct. 

Foot Pain

‘Hot foot’ – a burning sensation, numbness or pain on the underside of the foot is common.

This could occur if the shoes are too tight and or you are wearing too thick of socks. You need to allow more room in your shoes. 

Saddle Sores

Saddle sores cause discomfort due to the raised skin caused by the saddle. “If a rider starts to sit lop-sided on the saddle, trying to avoid pressure to the skin, other injuries can arise and these may be harder to treat.”

These are just a few of the most common biking injuries. If an injury persists you should always contact a specialist to receive the proper treatment. 

Common Causes of Cycling Accidents

Summer months are a great time to get out and on get some exercise on a bike. Riding a bike can be incredibly fun and safe at the same time. However, if you or others around you aren’t cautious or lose focus of whats going on serious accidents can occur. 

Here are some of the most common biking accidents according to Fortified Bike:

  1. Collision with a car 

“3,300 cyclists were killed in crashes between 2008 and 2012 and the cyclist being struck by the front of a vehicle caused a whopping 74% of those deaths.”

2. Getting hit from behind

“Of all fatalities in the IIHS study, an astounding 45% were caused when a vehicle was traveling the same direction as the cyclist.”

Be extremely cautious of the cars coming behind you. Ensure that you are visible from all angles. 

3.  Getting hit while crossing a street (T-bone)

“11% are caused by a car running into a cyclist crossing its path perpendicularly.”

Do everything you can to ensure the drivers see you when you are crossing a street. Be positive that it is your turn to cross the street before pulling out in an intersection.

4. Not wearing proper gear to be seen

“Studies show that cyclists are chronically bad at estimating how visible they are on the road.”

Reflectors often help with visibility of a cyclist. In fact, studies show that “cyclists wearing a reflective vest plus knee and ankle reflectors were recognized 90% of the time, while the “vest only” group was noticed 50% of the time.”

Lights are the best way to ensure drivers, pedestrians and other cyclists see you coming/going. 

5. Cycling in the dark

Don’t ride at night without lights connected to the front and rear of your bike. This will drastically increase your visibility. 

Summer Driving Tips

Many will say summer is their favorite time of year. This is thanks to the warm weather, swimming, ice cream eating, school breaks or fun vacations. 

If you are taking a summer road trip it is important to first learn a few tips before you get on the road. 

NHTSA offered a list of steps to take:

Get Your Care Serviced 

Regular routine services such as an oil change will make a huge difference in the life of your car. It’s good to do this before a road trip so that if anything is going on with your car you can get it fixed before having to learn the hard way. 

Check for Recalls 

Go Over Your Vehicle Safety Checklist 

This includes checking your: tires, lights, cooling system, fluid level, belts and hoses, wiper blades, air conditioning, floor mats

Pack an Emergency Roadside Kit

Some things you may want to consider including are: cell phone, charger, first aid kit, flashlight, jumper cables, jack to change a tire, basic tools, water, nonperishable food, medicines, maps, blankets, towels and coats

Safety First

Ensure everyone is wearing their seatbelt and sitting in their seat correctly. Be sure children are in the backseat and in the correct seat, booster seat or car seat.