Tagged in: car safety

deadly crashes

Despite Innovations, Deadly Crashes Continue to Rise

When you and your loved ones get into your vehicle, you can relax in knowing that safety feature improvements have made a huge difference in saving lives on American roadways in the past 20 years.

Innovations Designed to Prevent Deadly Crashes

Most people think of seat belts as the most remarkable safety innovation in automobiles for prevention of deadly crashes. But following safety belts came airbags, durable occupant safety cages, roll bars and crumple zones. These each provided great strength to vehicles and enhanced survivability for passengers during accidents. Automakers of today are looking at new ways to make driving even safer. So the next years should be exciting, when watching what carmakers come up with for greater survivability in new auto models.
Five of the most noteworthy car safety systems of recent years include:

  • Ford Blind Spot Info System with Cross-Traffic Alert
    This Ford-designed system employs two radar beam modules for blind spot awareness and other vehicle detection. These radars help drivers avoid deadly crashes often caused when changing lanes or encroaching upon unseen vehicles in the blind spots of the car being driven. Drivers are alerted of risk through an indicator light so they can correct their actions to prevent accident.
  • Volvo City Safety
    Volvo’s system innovation prevents deadly crashes using automatic braking. Although this is a low-speed device that stops the vehicle when it is only traveling at city speeds of two to 19 miles per hour, such as in parking lots or urban roadways, this braking system can prevent pedestrian, bicyclist and other fatalities.
  • Collision Mitigation by Honda
    Honda’s grille housed sensor monitors distance of traffic ahead and the driven vehicle’s own speed. By doing this, it is able to alert risk of crash with vehicles in the distance. The system flashes a warning light, tugs at the driver’s seat belt and even starts braking on its own to reduce the risk of deadly crashes.
  • Lane Assist by Audi
    An audible signal alerts drivers of new Audis to make them aware that they are swerving out of their own lane. This system does not stop the car or otherwise intervene. But it does cause the steering wheel to vibrate to ensure the driver is immediately aware of vehicle path changes, while corrections can still be made to prevent deadly crashes. This innovation is extremely useful for drowsy drivers who can be awakened by the steering wheel vibrations.
  • Mercedes Night View Assist PLUS
    Mercedes-Benz technology alerts drivers that animals or pedestrians are in or too near the roadway ahead, using forward facing infrared cameras. While the driver is alerted through high resolution displays on the instrument panel, the people or animals are also alerted through automated light flashing from the vehicle’s headlights.

Each of these innovations increase safety to prevent deadly auto accidents. But driver error, negative behaviors and distracted driving are still problems despite technological improvements.

Despite Automotive Innovations, Deadly Crashes Are Rising

2015 brought continuing increases in the number of motor vehicle deaths, despite changes to automotive technology. The National Safety Council had already noted a 14 percent increase in deadly crashes for the first six months of that year. That was over 18,000 fatalities with 30 percent more non-fatal injuries also occurring than in 2014.

A well-known Phoenix car accident attorney, voiced his concern over this trend. He said, “It is devastating to see that drivers continue to increasingly contribute to deadly crashes, despite so many safety innovations by automakers and awareness campaigns urging drivers to be more aware and safer when behind the wheel.”

The National Safety Council attributes the increase in fatalities to higher numbers of people on the road. Those increases in auto travel can be credited to lower gas prices and economic improvements, two factors enabling people to drive for leisure more often and for longer distances.

The attorney also said, “The auto industry has been struggling to overcome recalls and negative reports regarding vehicle safety. Safety features continue to advance in many ways, but deadly crashes are still a major problem in our society.”

Government officials are working to influence automakers to make many luxury safety innovations, such as automatic braking and features seen on brands such as Volvo, Audi and Mercedes, standard for less expensive brands and models. Safety should not be limited to those who can afford luxury.

Safety Innovations are No Match for Human Negligence

Despite safety innovations, one of the biggest problems causing deadly crashes is human error. Such error is often in the form of negative driving behaviors, also known as negligence. Surveys indicate 75 percent of drivers still use their cell phone while driving, despite knowing this activity behind the wheel is very deadly. 60 percent of drivers admit texting while driving.
 

springtime driving

Springtime Driving

Springtime is one of the best times to get out, enjoy the weather, and watch winter disappear right before your eyes. Whether you’re eager to take a long road trip or just want getaway for a quick weekend, it’s important to make sure that you and your car are prepared for springtime driving. While winter driving can be particularly hazardous and stressful for millions of Americans, the spring season is not free from dangerous situations on the road. Before you hit the road this spring, make sure you’re ready for whatever heads your way:

Springtime Car Maintenance

 

The weather and road conditions during the winter months can really do a number on your vehicle. Just as you would before winter arrives, make sure that your car is in good working condition when warmer weather arrives. First off, give your car thorough cleaning. Wash and wax the exterior (which can help keep tree pollen off of your car) and clean all the dirt and grime of the winter months from your interior. Next, check the air in your tires, have them rotated if needed, and have your trusted mechanic do a complete check (looking at fluids, changing oil, checking brakes, etc.).  Don’t forget to replace your windshield wipers and make sure the windshield cleaner reservoir is topped off, you never know when a spring rain will arrive, requiring a good pair of wipers.

Check the Weather

 

Spring is a much anticipated season, but it’s always filled with surprises. You can have a sunny and cloud-free sky in the morning and a rain/snow mix in the afternoon and often without warning. While snow is one of the biggest hassles for drivers, rain can be just as dangerous and stressful. Before you head out for the day, weekend or for your road trip, make sure you’ve taken a look at the forecast so you know what to expect. Additionally, it’s a smart idea to download a weather app to your phone so you can get up-to-date weather reports as your travel. Rain, fog, thunderstorms, and even tornadoes can suddenly occur during the springtime, it’s always good to stay informed, especially when traveling.

Share the Road

 

When the weather warms up, you can expect to see an increased amount motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians on or around the roadways. Make sure you are on the lookout for harder to spot motorists (like motorcyclists or bicyclists). Remember, they have the right to share the road with other vehicles, but they are less likely to be seen.

 

Continue to Drive Responsibly

 

Drivers should be responsible year round, but after a long winter, many drivers become a little more relaxed. First, keep appropriate distance and drive reasonable speeds when it’s raining or if there is fog (it can be just as dangerous as winter weather). Secondly, keep your distractions at a minimal. You may be tempted to crank the tunes and snap a picture on your smartphone, but your focus is needed on the road at all times, particularly when motorists, pedestrians, and even animals are more likely to be on the road. Finally, warmer weather marks the season of the backyard party and BBQs. Don’t forget to driver responsibly and know when to hand over the keys if you’ve been drinking alcohol.

Winter Driving Safety

As soon as snow and ice arrives on roadways, some drivers act like they have never driven in wintery weather. Although a good amount of winter car accidents occur due to the inclement weather, many accidents occur because of a driver error. Fortunately, there are ways that you can decrease your chances of getting in an accident during the icy and snowy winter weather.

Get a Car Check-Up

 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends getting your car checked out before the winter weather hits, but if snow has already fallen where you live go ahead and visit a trusted vehicle technician. Even if you have scheduled maintenance on your vehicle, you’ll want to make sure the following are running and working properly:

 

  • Tires: A tire with little tread will be of little help on the ice and snow. A good rule of thumb when testing the tread on your tire is by putting a penny in one of the treads. If Lincoln’s head is covered, your tread is good. If not, you should have your tires checked out and consider getting them replaced. It’s always a good idea to stick to your tire rotation schedule, too.

 

 

  • Battery: Colder weather is hard on your car’s battery and if it’s older you’re likely to go out to your car some morning and find that it won’t start. Check the cable connections and make sure that the terminals (or posts) are clean. It may be a good idea to go ahead and purchase a new one if your battery is old.

 

 

If your car technician suggests replacing anything else, such as hoses, don’t wait until you have a breakdown. It will save you more money in the long run.

Refresh Yourself on Winter Driving

 

Winter driving can be stressful, particularly if you’re caught in a snowstorm during your commute. Although you may be nervous or feel under pressure by other motorists, stay calm and take your time.

 

  • Get the Forecast: Whenever possible check out the weather forecast and if it sounds like travel isn’t recommended, try to stay off the roads. Give yourself extra time to get to where to need to go.

 

  • Keep Your Distance: Tailgating is a terrible driving habit. In the winter, in particular, it’s extremely important to keep a safe distance between you and other vehicles, specifically larger trucks and snow plows. Never try to pass a snowplow.

Prepare Yourself for an Emergency

 

No one wants to get stranded or run into car issues during the winter months, but it’s wise to prepare yourself for any type of emergency. Experts suggest either buying or building your own winter emergency car kit, which can include anything from non-perishable foods to blankets to flashlights and road flares.

 

Winter driving doesn’t need to be dangerous. A lot of the winter driving risks depends greatly on the choices that drivers make in maintaining their vehicles and how they operate their vehicles.