CAR TRICKS FOR SAFE DRIVING

The number one safety problem in American transportation is motor vehicle crashes. These crashes account for 94% of transportation deaths and 99% of transportation injuries.

One of the contributing human factors to these accidents is the lack of sufficient skills for safe driving. Most drivers view driving as a needed activity for commuting rather than a skill that needs to be polished.

Improving your car skills and learning a few tricks here and there will help you prevent accidents. Lots of damages are caused every year on the road due to easily avoidable circumstances. These damages can lead to high insurance rates even if the crash doesn’t result in any injuries.

Despite all of these consequences, most drivers remain complacent to learn driving tricks for safe driving. This article will dive into a few of these car tricks that you may want to know for your safety and others.

Driving tricks and techniques for safe driving

  1. Look for the best seating position and use the seat belt.

The first step to safe driving is to ensure good ergonomics for your sitting posture. The car trick here is to find an optimal position for your comfort. Begin by adjusting the seat while reaching for the pedals. You need to have enough space for your legs so that they don’t cramp. Moreover, you will need to have enough distance to depress the clutch pedal to its limit without straining your legs. Make sure your seat is adjusted well so you can see the road clearly while being comfortable at the same time. You will also need to have a little bending of the elbows to help your hands rest well for long periods of driving. Never forget to use the seat belt. Using a seat belt not only protects you in case of an accident but also prevents you from getting fined. 

Use seat belt

2. Adjust the mirrors

Adjust the Internal Rear-View Mirror and the Outside Rear-View Mirror to an optimal position. You need to adjust the mirrors for optimal visibility of what is behind your vehicle. It is crucial to have a clear view of the activities behind you to watch your own back. The best trick for adjusting the Outside Rear-View Mirror is to make sure your tail is visible on the side of the mirror.

3. Carry all the documents 

You should always carry these three documents whenever you drive; your driver’s license, your vehicle registration document, and proof of insurance. You may be required to show them if you get pulled over or during an accident. On top of that, the vehicle registration proves that your car can be legally driven on the road. A vehicle that is not registered should not be driven on the road. Lastly, driving without your proof of insurance may land you in jail since it is illegal in most states. Luckily, the digital age has made carrying these documents easier; you can use smartphone applications to store all needed data. All you would need is your phone on you at all times.

4. Check the surroundings while reverse parking your car.

Safe drivers reverse park by pulling the handbrake, getting out of the car to check the surroundings, and then returning into the car to park it. Following this procedure will help you mentally calculating the needed space for parking.

5. Check and reduce your blind spots.

Blind spots have led to lots of accidents. Many drivers will change lanes on the assumption that the lane next to them is empty when in fact, it isn’t. A collision will happen since there is another vehicle close to where the driver changed lanes. A blind spot is usually a spot where a car pulling alongside your car is not visible in your side mirror or your rear-view mirror and has not yet reached close by to be seen through your peripheral vision. The best car tricks to avoid blind spots are adjusting the mirrors, knowing your blind spots, and waiting for a given time frame before changing lanes. You should keep in mind the blind spots of other drivers and never forget motorcycles on the road; they can be deadly affected by the blind spots.

6. Avoid over-speeding and distractions.

Pay attention to the speed limits. It may be fun to speed as fast as you want and impress yourself with how fast and furious you can get, but do not forget that a lot of accidents are due to over-speeding. It can land you in jail or get you fined. The main concern for over-speeding, though, is the danger it poses to you and other road users. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) showcases how speeding is the number one factor in more than 25% of fatal accidents each year. Speeding is a choice made out of negligence that will sooner or later result in several preventable deaths. Distractions on the road can catch any driver by surprise. Safe drivers should be able to handle their vehicles well when observing the outside environment. Pull out of the main road if you must see something.

7. Avoid road rage 

Every driver has been engulfed with road rage at one point or another. It is straightforward to get offended by other drivers, especially in a traffic jam. You must remember to keep calm and stay level-headed when you find yourself confronting another driver on certain occasions, especially during an accident. Road rage has led to murder cases and hospitalizations; therefore, it is prudent to be careful, stay calm, and be patient to avoid dangerous confrontations and conflicts.

8. Watch out and pay attention to other drivers on the road.

Keeping a sufficient amount of distance between you and the other drivers is critical. This distance is essential in case you have to maneuver quickly to prevent an accident. The drivers behind you should also keep this distance just in case they have to avoid potential accidents. 

9. Take precautions for different weather conditions.

Driving in sunny conditions is not the same as driving in rainy, snowy, or foggy conditions. Safe driving entails the mastery of different car tricks for other weather conditions. Take extra precautions when the weather is not favorable. For example, the best car tricks for rainy conditions include; changing speed gradually, increasing your following distance, keeping your lights on, and keeping the radio on a lower volume.

9. Use a dashcam

Good inclusion to the revolutionary vehicle technologies is the dashcam. A dashcam can improve the driver’s safety. It protects the driver from false claims and increases accountability. Dashcams make life easier for drivers since they can remotely download the footage from an incident to help them figure out the truth of what might have happened.

Frequently asked questions

  1. How long will it take for me to become a good driver?

There is no definitive timeline set for beginners to become pro drivers. It may take a few weeks for some to become good drivers and maybe months for others. The best way to know if you are good at driving is to have a checklist of the driving skills you need. 

2. Why should a driver be extra cautious with motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians?

The reason why it is crucial to be extra careful with this demographic is the fact that they are difficult to spot in traffic. Motorcyclists and pedestrians are easily overlooked since they are a small percentage of the people on the road. 

3. Where does the law definitively require you to stop?

There are three scenarios that the law definitively requires you to stop. Failure to stop may get you fined or land you in jail. These scenarios include;

  • At a stop sign
  • When ordered by the police
  • When the traffic lights change to red

4. How can I ensure my vehicle is always road-worthy?

The best way to ensure your vehicle’s roadworthiness is to ensure the wheels, lights, steering wheel, brakes, and mirrors are in good working condition. Moreover, do not forget to maintain your car with frequent visits to the mechanic regularly.

5. Is driving school necessary?

As much as a friend or parent can teach you how to drive for free, the training you will get won’t compare to what a professional instructor gives. Driving schools will teach you essential car tricks and safe driving tips that your parents may not know. On top of that, taking driving lessons in a driving school helps you be more confident behind the wheel.

Conclusion 

These car tricks and driving tips are just a few of the many you can learn to help you drive safely. Driving is a continuous process that keeps changing with time and technology. It is prudent to polish those driving skills to be one step ahead of the driving challenges we face.

Facts That You Should Know About Distracted Driving

Distraction is a vague word but has one very clear-cut meaning especially, for driving purposes. Distraction driving is unfocused driving where the driver is unable to keep focus and attention on the road. Every year distractions are increasing the number of fatality and lives it is claiming.

Distraction driving can be any activity that takes away your focus from the driving purposes alone. Such as changing the music chart-number, shuffling through the navigation page, fetching a bottle from the side window, getting a granola bar from the glove-box, etc. 

Distracted driving

A 5-second glance on the phone screen instead of the road can kill you at least a hundred times repeatedly in that time-frame. Distracted driving is everything that takes away your focus from the road. It is crucial to have a focus on the road while driving. It is why it is imperative to get the facts, get involved, and keep the American-roads and people safe on roads.

Following are the 20 distracting driving facts related to distracted driving as well as texting while driving. Startling facts that will change how you look at distracted driving again.

1 – Teen Drivers

Teen drivers driving the car have increased chances of getting involved in a possibly fatal accident.

2 – Double Chances With Double Occupants

Most teen drivers are involved in impending road-crashes while being accompanied by another friend in their tow. 

3 – How Men Get Distracted While Driving

Men are more associated and inclined towards driving back from after-work parties and otherwise after drinking.

4 – How Women Get Distracted While Driving

Women will try to juggle things together by choosing to reply to texts or mail while sitting behind the wheel.

5 – Multi-Tasking While Driving Is A Myth

No human can do multi-tasking literally. Our minds merely switch between two things real fast. Many therefore feel they can operate their phones while driving.

6 – Eating Or Drinking While Driving

In most cases, people lose their focus from the road while driving, for a bite of food, packet of chips, etc.

7 – Safety Of Your Close Ones

Driving on the road should not cost our near and dear ones that many people forget while driving on the road, with family or kids.

8 – Problem-Solving Skills Becomes Zero

Problem-solving skills while driving diminishes significantly because the mind gets distracted.

9 – Attention On The Road Matters

Shifting the focus from the road to your phone or anything else takes away your attention for longer than the activity itself last. The afterthoughts of the distraction can make you emersed, taking away the attention even while looking at the road.

10 – Eye Coordination

When switching between two things, distraction will not allow you to rearrange your eye-coordination to become as fast as your thoughts. In other words, when you switch your gaze from the road to your phone, your eyes will take few seconds to adjust to the sudden changes.

11 – Social Media Can Wait

Staying connected with friends or family can be much tempting, but resist this urge while driving. This attraction to using Social Media all the time has become a prominent reason for accidents. Selfies and live video urges while driving can be fatal.

12 – Driving Along with Young Children

Parents are more likely to get distracted while traveling with young kids because attending to the young minds while concentrating on the road can become laborious and tricky. 

13 – Driving with wireless devices on

It might come as a shock for many, but having a Bluetooth wireless device on-ear in use while driving has substantially added more people hurt and met with an accident.

14 – Reaching For Things Inside The Car While Driving

Reaching for a snack from the glove-box while driving can take away a lot more than satiate your hunger. Trying to lunge for an object increases the chances of fatal crashes.  

15 – Driving While Changing GPS Setting On The Road

Multi-tasking does not go hand in hand while driving on the road. There are probable chances of getting involved in a crash if you choose to type in addresses etc.

Five Facts With Statistics

1 – Distracted Driving In The US

1.6 million of the total had their phone on them while reported for road accidents. However, NSC (National Safety Council) survey revealed that 20% of people aged 18 to 20 years said that texting does not come in their way while driving.

2 – Texting Is Dangerous

Texting can increase the chances of crashing on the road by 23 times, even with someone else fault. 1-in-4 accidents on the road have texting distracted driving as their culprit. Texting is six-time more dangerous than drunk-driving based on stats. 

3 – Teens And Distracted Driving

94% of all teens are well aware of the outcomes of using phones on the road. And yet, 35% of them still seen using their phones while driving.

4 – Kids And Distracted Drivers

Adults forget about the safety of their co-passengers as well while being distracted. More than 1600 kids get killed on the road due to unnecessary texting distraction while driving. 48% of the children discovered to be with a texting driver while on any vehicle.

5 – Distraction On Road Is Dangerous

Due to distracted driving on the road, 1000 crashes get reported every day. Life-claiming accounts for 10 percent of all critical injury crashes, accounting for 18%, and 16% of all police-reported vehicle traffic crashes were reported in 2013, with distracted driving as the reason for crashes.

Conclusion

When driving, it is necessary to be aware of our surroundings and make calculated decisions based on your focus. One can potentially take the help of technology advancement with the growing times. Several apps and social media campaigns have come up ahead with their take on safety. Like the ‘It Can Wait’ simulator, which has helped drive awareness of the consequences of texting while driving.

It Can Wait campaign focuses on the distracted driving facts at hand alarmingly, helping every citizen become a responsible citizen of the United States. Join the movement by pledging to stay safe and joining the wagon to stop distractions while driving. When we all will cumulatively make efforts and take precautions, we save hundreds of lives.

Simulator virtual reality makes people realize how life can be different while driving. Based on distinct actions taken accounting for a few seconds of mobile phone use while driving. What might feel acceptable today can very well be the reason for destruction tomorrow. Therefore, appreciation of programs like It Can Wait, especially the virtual reality simulator, is crucial. 

STAY FOCUS WHILE DRIVING! – YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT HAPPENS AFTER BEING DISTRACTED

Distracted Driving Definition

Distracted driving is fatal. When the focus while driving is not on the road and anything else, termed as distracted driving. In other words, distracted driving is indulging in driving while doing some other activity along with it. The US alone experiences as many as eight deaths caused by a distracted driver. 

Distracted driving can kill. Distracted driving is potentially dangerous for you and your dear-ones. When you look at the startling stats of how dangerous distracted driving can be, you will be shocked. In 2018 alone, 2841 people lost their life to hampered driving.  

Distraction can be in any form, like:

  • Staring at your phone screen while driving is one of the most common distractions. 
  • Grabbing things from the glove-box.
  • Picking a packet of chips from the rear seat to eat.
  • Also, with anything that takes your eyes away from the road.

Focused drivers can save and protect many lives by doing the right thing while driving. Not using a mobile phone will encourage your peer and family to consider healthy and safe driving practices. State laws also emphasize the importance of rules given our yearly stats and records. 

NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) keeps posting more relevant information to update the laws and benefits of driving safely. Your state legislature defines the Laws related to distracted driving. Therefore, it is crucial to know about them in advance. Most of the states have laws on using cell phones and other distractions while driving on the road.

How US drivers are distracted while driving:

  • Talking on mobile phones.
  • Typing on mobile phones.
  • Holding the mobile phone in one hand while driving.
  • Wearing Bluetooth devices.
  • Using navigation system.
  • Singing and talking to fellow passengers.
  • Eating or drinking
  • Smoking while driving.

Types Of Distraction

Unless you have undivided attention on the road, you can not indulge in safe driving practice. Using a phone while driving is the most unsafe and alarming distraction. Imagine facing a 180 km per hour cricket ball while betting it will be safe to face it without a helmet? No. But using your phone while driving is precisely taking the same risk. 

1.     Visual Distraction

A distraction that will cause you to shift your gaze from the road to anywhere else. The most common type of distraction is visual distractions such as mobile phones, navigation screens, etc. Drivers are supposed to have their eyes on the road to make appropriate decisions while driving.

Using the phone while driving is the most common distraction the drivers indulge in while driving. Every look at the phone can shift your gaze for about 5 seconds for a two-line reply to a message. In most of the cases reported, distraction due to mobile phone stays on top of the list.

However, visual distractions are possible even without looking at your phone screen. Visual distraction can also be the beautiful beach on the side or passing by your favorite historical site. All will require shifting your eyes from the road to what you want to see. 

Distracted driving

2.     Manual Distraction

Manual distracting will encourage you to take your hands off the steering wheel while driving. Similarly, manual distractions are fixing your side mirrors, clothes, navigation screen, music players, or even picking up something from the car floor that are severe and risky actions.

All of these require you to shift your hand from the wheel to the thing you want to pick up. Getting something to eat from your bag kept on the passenger seat will require you to shift your hands from the wheel. Making you vulnerable and prone to risky events on the road.

3.     Cognitive Distraction

Cognitive factors are those that will take your mind off the driving waning cognitive impairment and your decision-making ability. Using a hand-free device or on a voice-activated car-system can cause you to shift your mind and attention from the road. 

Cognitive factors can very well be the commonly found reasons. However, thinking or reminiscing about a particular dream, even being engrossed in some tension at work, or daydreaming can distract you.

Facts and Statistics

It is essential to know about the facts and figures about distracted driving more, which can very well open your eyes. Here are some of them to reconsider your thoughts of distracted driving:

• 57% of people are more likely to stop being distracted while driving if a co-passenger brings to their notice that they are doing wrong.

• In a country where the total population stands at only 318.9 million, every year 2.5million are involved in road accidents. Shockingly, more than 37,000 people lose their lives every year.

• In 2018, 8% of all fatal road crashes in the US were reported due to distracted drivers. 15% of injury crashes reported were distraction-affected crashes. In 2018, distracted driving killed 506 nonoccupants such as pedestrians, pedestrians, cyclists, etc.

• It takes away at least 4.6 seconds from the road for reading one small text when using your mobile phone while driving. In simple words, you can very well cross one and a half football pitch in this period.

• As much as 8% of drivers involved in distracted driving are in their teen years. As many as 11 teens die every day due to texting while driving.

• When using your mobile phone while driving can reduce as much as 37% of concentration and brain activity. 

• 48% of kids were found to be sitting in the vehicle driven by a distracted driver writing text. As much as 1600 children get killed because of this habit.

How We Can End Distracted Driving

1 – Teens

Teens are the best influencers in the current times. Best messengers to their friends and knowns. Therefore, they must understand the need to speak up and stop when they see a friend driving being distracted. Teens can very well ask their peers to vouch or take a pledge to never indulge in distracted driving.

Social media is fueled by the energy our teen generation brings in. They are making changes in society and bringing humanity back in innovative ways. Hashtags, signing an online petition supporting not to make distracted driving mistakes, and reminding the same again and again. 

Teens are a powerhouse of energy and innovative ways to combat the problems at hand. From saving our planets to bringing positive changes, we can see young minds excel at every level. Teens can start getting involved in groups against destructive decisions as well. 

Responsible teens today will become even responsible-focused drivers in the future. Furthermore, reducing the need to keep a check on them and experience the reputation of distracted driving.

2 – Parents & Educators

Parents are the best first teachers for their children. Educators and teachers further take the role of guiding kids on the right path through the learning curve. It is why they both play a crucial yet significant part in shaping young minds. 

Young minds are like clean canvases, ready to be painted with the reality of life. If parents and teachers set an example in front of their young generation, we can very well ensure to save lives. 

According to studies, 33.7 percent of the US parents participating in the survey indulged in distracted driving by texting on their phone while driving with children. It shows how alarming the technology level has become for us users. 

Parents and teachers must indulge in open dialogue with their children to discuss how alarming driving situations can become. Share stories and past related stories to your children, making sure they get the implication of distracted driving. Emphasize the statistics related to the use of phones while driving. Parent teen driving agreements are a great start to break the ice of distracted driving with your teen children.

Parents and educators set behavioral examples, becoming role models in front of the coming generation for their social conduct. Unsafe distracted driving by parents can influence their children to follow their footprints to drive irresponsibly. Parents need to know and abide by the law themselves first to help their children learn to do the same.   

3 – Drivers

Drivers are the ones who are on the front line, directly responsible for their actions and after-effects. Drivers need to understand that it is crucial to keep the focus on the road while driving. Multi-tasking while driving is not an advantage but a disadvantage for the driver.

Distractions are like fixing the rear mirror, setting your hair, using the navigation system, eating a bagel, texting, phone call, etcetera. Drivers should make sure to stop their vehicle on the side and do it, not while driving.

Make sure to be responsible on the road, especially when you are behind the wheel. Plan your route and fix it on your navigation system before starting to drive. Try and control your distraction by using apps to help avoid calls while driving or take your food and drinks before or after driving your vehicle. 

Follow these tips while driving:

  • Keep your phone or mobile device on silent.
  • Use Bluetooth devices or hands-free voice controls.
  • In case of emergency or critical calls, stop and pull over on the side.
  • Use your phone before driving. 
  • Hand your phone to your co-passenger till the time you are going on the road.

4 – Passengers

Passengers are as involved and responsible for their safety while riding along with a driver as the driver themselves are responsible for it. While in a vehicle with a distracted driver, raise your alarm and ask them to shift their focus back on the road. Try and keep checking on the driver when such cases happen.

Make sure to help your driver keep the focus on-road by reducing their distraction, like offering to manage their navigation when needed. Always support your state laws by being an aware and active participant of the rules.

Passengers are responsible for their safety when ignoring any rash or distracting driving practices. Take a stand for your and other’s safety by choosing to control distractions while driving. 

Try following ways to your distracted driver:

  • Be vocal and directly bring the issue to their notice.
  • Offer your help to make the calls, fix navigation, etcetera.
  • Share facts and statistical data of distracted driving implications.
  • Be affectionate while taking a stand for the wrong.

5 – How ItCanWait Simulator Can Help With This Problem

It can wait is a pledge program started by AT&T under their social responsibility pledge program to encourage safer driving on roads. So far, 40 million people have taken the pledge to make the world a better place by driving undistracted and save lives.

Sign the pledge and use the simulator to show what all can go wrong when driving distracted. Speak up and help reduce distracted driving around you. Virtual reality simulator It Can Wait helps and guides you with safe driving information. 

Conclusion

Distractions are never considered a beneficial aspect of life. Distraction, the name in itself, is not positivity-inducing. Distracted driving facts tell us the same. Driving while being distracted and affected by several additional factors can prove fatal.

Driving on the road in a current busy life can take a toll on anyone given adverse conditions. While many still feel that using the phone to pick up a call or just reading a crucial text while driving is not harmful. We all consider ourselves to be the master of multi-tasking. But, are we able to do so? No. Our mind is designed to multi-task but, driving on roads and multi-tasking does not go hand-in-hand. Replying to emails while reaching the office is not going to safeguard us against colliding.

Driving without focusing on the road will bring you to an unsafe zone, where you can get injured. Most state laws will hold a distracted driver accountable, plus can be charged for reckless driving for penalty and jail time too. 

DROWSY DRIVING – FALL ASLEEP ON THE WHEEL

According to National Sleep Foundation surveys and studies, 50% of American adults consistently report that they have driven drowsy. Moreover, 20% admit that they have fallen asleep at the wheel in the previous year. Drowsy driving constitutes a significant percentage of road accidents, which is why these statistics are so shocking.

Most drivers are ill-informed on the dangers of driving while tired that they have become accustomed to not worrying about it. However, in recent years, experts have been calling for extra attention to this problem to reduce road accidents and crashes.

What is drowsy driving?

Drowsy driving, also known as driver’s fatigue, is the act of operating a motor vehicle while sleepy, tired, or fatigued.

Drowsy driving

Drowsy driving is deadly driving

Drowsy driving presents a huge risk for the driver’s health, the passengers, and other people. Driving while being tired can lead to severe road accidents resulting in loss of lives, injuries, and property destruction.

Drowsiness also affects the driver’s judgment, attention, prediction, vigilance, anticipation, and reaction time. It can make the driver lose their grip on the speed limit, forget to maintain a safe distance from other vehicles, and shutters his/her defensive driving.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 100,000 police-reported crashes happen every year due to drowsy driving. These 100,000 estimated crashes cause more than 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and $12.5 billion in monetary losses.

Experts in traffic safety, sleep science, and public health organizations agree that this is underestimated. However, determining the real precise number is very difficult due to the very many factors involved. Crash investigators usually look for clues that drowsiness led to a crash, but these clues are never conclusive.

Furthermore, unlike alcohol impairment, which can be measured using blood alcohol measurements, i.e., a Breathalyzer, you cannot accurately measure sleep deprivation. Measuring sleep deprivation relies heavily on the drivers admitting that most people are reluctant to do it. In most cases, drowsy driving accidents end up being attributed to other factors.

Data from England, Finland, Australia, and other European countries showcases drowsy driving as 10% – 30% of all road accidents. As earlier stated, an estimated 20% of American adults admit that they have fallen asleep while driving in the previous year. With this in light, the estimated figure of drowsy driving-related accidents may be more than double the originally conceived figure.

In the U.S alone, drowsiness is the main culprit in approximately 21% of fatal crashes every year. Besides, the societal cost of drowsy driving in this country is estimated to be between $12.5 billion and $109 billion per year.

CDC has done several studies and surveys on the effects of drowsiness while driving. They found out that people who snored or slept for 6 hours or less per day were more likely to fall asleep while driving. 

Another study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that sleeping between six and seven hours a night doubled the risk of being involved in a crash. Getting less than five hours of sleep doubled the risk again.

Even though drunk driving and drowsy driving are not the same things, they have been found to cause the same number of crashes in controlled studies. 18 hours of being awake have been seen to have the same effect as having an alcohol content of 0.05%. 20 hours of being awake have also been seen to have the same effect as having an alcohol content of 0.08%. At 24 hours of being awake, you will exhibit an impairment similar to a blood alcohol content of 0.1%.

Why drowsy driving can land you in jail

Most states in the U.S have not outlawed drowsy driving specifically. However, it is considered a form of reckless driving in the same respect as drunk driving. Therefore, drowsy driving can land you in jail almost in the same manner as drunk driving.

As seen previously, being awake for 24 hours will lead to impairment similar to having a blood alcohol content of 0.1%. This is more than the legal limit of 0.08% in every American state.

To add salt to injury, you may end up paying huge settlements in some cases. Multi-million-dollar settlements have been made to families of accident victims. Lawsuits can be filed against an individual who drove drowsy for victim compensation, which is the same for businesses whose employees were involved in drowsy driving accidents.

Signs of drowsy driving

Even though there is no quick test to determine whether you are drowsy or not, there are a few signs you can be on the lookout for. In case you experience any of them, take regular driving breaks. 

You could pull over to a secure place and take a 15–20-minute nap, or if possible, change drivers. Do not turn up the music or open a window since these are not effective ways of staying awake.

Make sure to be on the lookout for these signs of drowsy driving:

  1. Constant and frequent yawning.
  2. Wondering thoughts.
  3. Taking your eyes off the road.
  4. Having trouble keeping your head up.
  5. Difficulties in keeping your eyes open.
  6. Restlessness, irritability, and aggressiveness.
  7. Trouble recalling the last few miles driven.
  8. Difficulties in keeping the appropriate safe distance from other vehicles.
  9. Missing road signs and exits.
  10. Drifting from your given lane or into the shoulder of the road.

Who is at risk?

1. Young drivers

Young drivers, especially male drivers, tend to drive drowsy due to their behaviors and lifestyle choices. Such choices may Include; working long hours, drinking alcohol, staying up till late, and getting little sleep. 

2. Shift workers

Working on rotating shifts can make It hard for anyone to sleep. Shift workers work at odd hours, even during the night when they are tired and need sleep. Their sleeping schedule is not set. 

Shift workers will often experience a circadian rhythm sleep disorder due to their sleeping schedule. Speaking, they suffer from a lack of sleep or poor sleep quality, making them less alert when driving.

3. Commercial drivers

These drivers tend to be on their seats throughout a long journey for long periods. Driving for such long distances, especially when the routine is very repetitive, can lead to boredom and drowsiness.

4. Ridesharing service providers

These individuals tend to work in non-fixed hours. They do not have set times for sleeping and resting. They may end up sleeping in many different situations, which is a condition referred to as cumulative partial sleep deprivation.

5. Business travelers

Business travelers find it hard to sleep in a different location due to their internal clock not syncing to different regions. Moreover, they find it hard to sleep during flights, which results in a huge problem for them.

6. People with the sleep disorder

Individuals who suffer from sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, Insomnia, or narcolepsy may experience drowsiness more frequently than most. This is more likely If the disorder goes untreated. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which affects more than 12 million people in the U.S, Is the major cause of drowsy driving.

Ways of reducing drowsy driving

1. Employee protection and safety

Places of work should incorporate enough guidelines and standard protocols to safeguard their workers from sleep deprivation. Safety and health programs can be used added to sufficiently inform and train employees to evade drowsiness. This is majorly important to certain employees such as commercial workers, shift workers, and business travelers.

2. University interventions

On average, a university student gets less sleep than most average adults. College kids sleep for less than six hours on average. Such a short amount of sleep can lead to drowsy driving and thus must be dealt with. Changing the education program and its schedule can help fix this problem.

3. Safety technologies

Governments should widely implement crash avoidance technologies to help in road and traffic safety. Safety technologies such as lane departure warnings and drowsiness alerts can help detect drowsy driving patterns. Detecting these drowsy driving patterns will warn the drivers to stay in their lane or take a break from driving.

4. Proper driving education 

Driving schools and parents should make it their top priority to teach young adults the importance of safety, especially young males. Young males are very vulnerable to breaking safe driving protocols. An emphasis on issues that should always be avoided, such as drowsy driving, will go a long way in saving their lives.

5. Sleep for at least 7 hours a day. 

Proper sleep for the proper amount of time is the only way you will get rid of your drowsiness. Make it a habit to sleep on a regular schedule with enough flexibility so that you can have a proper sleep daily.

6. Check in with your doctor in case you have any sleep disorders. 

Get the needed treatment and follow the recommended sleep guidelines given by your doctor. Sleep disorders can be annoying but are very manageable with good treatment and great care for your health.

7. Avoid drowsiness inducing medication while driving

While driving, avoid any given medication that has been sited to cause drowsiness. Check the medication label and instructions for any warning for side effects. Take note of the side effects and avoid taking the medication when you are driving, or the least, find a substitute driver to drive you around.

8. Do not drive during peak sleepiness periods

Avoid driving during the peak sleepiness periods in the late afternoon and between 12 a.m. – 6 a.m.

9. Drive with a group of people

A UCLA study found that having a group of friends or even just one friend can greatly reduce your chances of falling asleep while driving. This can also be of great advantage if you ever need to sleep and let the other person take over.

10. Drive during the day

If possible, drive during the day, especially when the sun is up. The sun stimulates melatonin production and your circadian rhythm. This helps in keeping you awake and alert during the day.

Nevertheless, the sun is a great source of vitamin D, which can help you sleep better during the night.

11. Drinking coffee or energy drinks alone cannot counter your drowsiness.

Remember that drinking coffee or energy drinks alone cannot counter your drowsiness. Coffee and energy drinks will temporarily fix the problem, but you will still experience microsleeps with four to five lost consciousness seconds. What does this mean? If you were driving at 55 miles per hour, you would have moved by 100 yards while asleep, enough distance to cause an accident.

The recommended strategy would be to take one or two cups of coffee and pull over for a 15-20- minute nap.

Factors that may contribute to drowsy driving

1. Shift work and traveling

Working night shifts or long shifts will affect your sleeping schedule and mess with your internal sleeping clock. Avoid long shifts or night shifts where possible, or the least, reduce them to a minimum so that you can maintain your internal sleeping clock and your sleeping schedule intact.

2. Feeling sleep-deprived

Sleep deprivation will make drivers less attentive, slow in reacting, and affect their ability to make critical decisions. It would be best if you never risked falling asleep at the wheel or even dozing off for a second. A lot can happen in that time frame. 

3. Medication interaction and lost sleep

You may have visited a doctor once and been told not to operate any machinery while taking the given medication. A lot of medications in the stores and those prescribed by a doctor can result in drowsiness.

They usually have warning labels and instructions on the oncoming side effects. Always make sure you read the side effects of any given medication you may be taking. You do not want your driving capabilities to be hindered. 

Some of the medications proven to cause drowsiness include; narcotic pain pills, antidepressants, tranquilizers, a few high blood-pressure pills, muscle relaxants, cold medicines, and obviously, sleeping pills.

4. Alcohol consumption

Consuming alcohol will make you sleepy. This is on top of all the other effects that drunkenness can cause, such as poor reaction time, mind wandering, and poor eyesight. Drunk drivers often become impulsive, overly confident in their driving skills, expressive, and partake in risky driving techniques.

Conclusion 

There are some road safety laws and precautions that may seem obvious but are very much ignored. Drowsy driving is one of them. Considering most people work up to five jobs 5 times a week, it is clear how drivers can quickly disregard drowsy driving.

However, awareness and progressive advocation on drowsy driving dangers have led to people becoming more vigilant.

Here is a summary of the precautions you may take to deal with drowsy driving:

  • Prioritize employee protection and safety.
  • Encourage university intervention to change sleep-depriving education programs.
  • Safety technologies to help prevent drowsy driving.
  • Proper driving education to teach the dangers and effects of drowsy driving.
  • Sleep for at least 7 hours a day.
  • Check-in with your doctor in case you have any sleep disorders.
  • Avoid drowsiness-inducing medication while driving.
  • Do not drive during peak sleepiness periods.
  • Drive with a group of people, especially during long drives.
  • Drive during the day.
  • Drinking coffee or energy drinks alone cannot counter your drowsiness. Incorporate driving breaks and short naps to the drinks if the coffee or energy drink is needed.

Impaired Driving: All That You Should Know

Impaired status of consciousness and your body, what does it mean really? In other words, think of it as not being able to perform at something, however, which you will generally be able to do without any predicament contrarily. 

Almost half of the accidents are linked to driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol directly or indirectly. You will be startled to grasp the stats. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 29 people die in the US every day because of driving under the influence. 

Thus, impaired driving stands for not able to drive the way a driver is supposed to otherwise. But why the driver is unable to operate in the first place? As the driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs or both. Let’s find out more.The government is even acute when it comes to drug and alcohol abuse while driving on the road. Many might not be associating but causing a death while driving under the influence can invite up to 14 years in jail. Plus, a minimum of a 2-year prohibition on driving. 

What Is Impaired Driving?

Impaired driving

Impaired driving is driving a vehicle while being impaired due to consumption of alcoholic substance or drug abuse. Furthermore, resulting in altered driving capabilities and poor judgment when behind the wheel. 

While you might be thinking that it is a prominent issue, one should not drink and drive. However, this is not this simple. Drug abuse is just not because of having one too many drinks at a party or Marijuana consumption. It can also be the side-effect of prescription drugs. 

Prescription drugs available over-the-counter to combat a mere issue of blood pressure can cause impaired driving and reduced ability to make sound judgments. However, according to various surveys and reports concerning authorities, drug abuse and alcohol consumption are the prime factors of impaired driving.

Almost all the state in the US have zero-tolerance law to curb impaired driving instances. Driving Under Influence (DUI) and Driving While intoxicated (DWI) can destroy your relationships with friends and family. Below 21 years of age can be convicted to serve time in jail with other difficulties. 

1. Alcohol-Impaired Driving

Alcohol is indeed a magic liquid. The more you have it, the lesser you will have control over yourself. However, it is also true that even a small glass of alcohol can reduce one’s judging abilities. Moreover, resulting in lesser control of muscle coordination. Plus, this can further affect reflexes to become slower and have a blurry or impaired vision. 

Alcohol-impaired driving is one of the preeminent causes of death while on the roads. Impaired driving has converted into a prominent cause of pedestrians and cyclist’s injuries and death in accidents. Besides, causing harm to them. 

Blood Alcohol Concentration or BAC effects suggest that having as low as one drink can make a person have difficulty tracking a moving object. Also can cause divided attention leading to the inability to perform more than one task at a time and, for example, not being able to identify the type and make of passing vehicles. 

2. Drug-Impaired Driving

Like alcohol-impaired driving, drug abuse, or being under the influence of any prescription or illegal substance, it is called drug-impaired driving. Furthermore, as much as half of the alcohol-impaired drivers were the user of drug abuse. 

It is crucial to note that different users react differently to a similar type of drug. For example, a 20s-year-old male can be under the influence of Marijuana longer than a male in his 40s or vice-versa. It does not matter how much drug abuse can become fatal for driving purposes. 

Similarly, most people stay under the wrong impression that it is alright to consume drugs in minute quantities. Furthermore, this incorrect impression that consuming the drugs in smaller portions will not affect their ability to drive has become a false perception for many.

Many consider it alright to utilize drugs because they think that everyone around them is also consuming or their peer is using drugs. However, it is not the case. According to a report submitted by the American College of Health Association, a study done on their students revealed shocking perceptions. 

Based on the paper, 57% of the participating students reported never using Marijuana but believed that 88% of their fellow students were consuming Marijuana. 

3. Mind-Altering Substances

The world has become an open encyclopedia for everybody to have access to everything at their fingertips. It has become easier than ever to access everything, especially with everything being widely available online under simple disguise. 

More so, legal issues and safety perception cease to control abusers from accessing and using the drugs that can impair them for life. These can very well cause users to be dependent on them, known as psychological addiction in people.

a. Depressants

The substance that slows down stimulation and the ability to feel emotions are depressants. These are consumed by swallowing, injecting, drinking, snorted, or inhaled. However, these are not necessarily linked with being depressed or feeling low. These substances will affect the user’s nervous system, which will result in slower coordination between the body and the brain while driving.

However, in smaller quantities, these substances will make the user feel relaxed and at ease but taking away motor skill coordination. But in higher amounts, these can very well become the trigger to worse outcomes like nausea, vomiting, mood swings, or death.

Common Depressant

  • Alcohol
  • Benzodiazepines
  • GHB
  • Kava

b. Narcotics

Similar to the above depressants, the narcotic substance can cause one to feel euphoria and increased heartbeat. So, this can potentially impair the user to make judgments on the road. This substance can numb a person’s ability to respond by affecting their concentration and coordination while driving.

Types Of Narcotic Substance

  • Heroin
  • Morphine

c. Stimulants

These substances are known to speed up the messages between the brain and the body of the user. Resulting in the user feel more energetic and confident under the influence. Stimulants can make one feel more alert, along with the feeling of euphoria.

Long-term uses can lead to chronic anxiety, seizures, cramps, headaches, aggression, panic, paranoia, increased heart-rate, etc. Stimulants are snorted, swallowed, smoked, or injected into the body. Generally, this includes the following:

  • Amphetamines
  • Betel Nuts
  • Caffeine
  • Cocaine
  • Ice
  • Mephedrone
  • Nicotine
  • Synthetic Cathinones

d. Hallucinogens

Like other substances, hallucinogens changes the perceptions of how a person thinks and reacts to certain situations—often termed as mind-altering drugs. Drug abuse can cause serious harm physically and psychologically to the ones using and the people around them.

Addiction to the need to take such mind-altering drugs can very well result from clinical conditions, such as depression. These can cause the drivers to have witness short-term memory loss and significant violent behavior on the road along with visual impairment. 

Common hallucinogens

  • Marijuana
  • Hashish
  • LSD
  • PCP

How Police Detect Impaired Drivers

For handling driving impairments, officers are trained accordingly. Trained to identify the substance abuse status by utilizing the senses of smell, sight, and hearing to document in their reports. Following are some of the clues officers use to identify impaired drivers:

  • Angry and frustrated reactions.
  • Can not listen or follow the instruction given by the police officer.
  • Have bloodshot eyes and soiled items of clothing.
  • Slurry speech and fumbling.
  • Inconsistent statements and responses.
  • Cover-up odors along with other unusual smells.
  • Abusive and defensive language.
  • Admission to drinking and using drugs.
  • Alcohol bottles and containers.
  • Unusual actions while coming out of the car.
  • Leaving the car in gear.

1. Standardized Field Sobriety Test

Police conduct this test comprising of three different tasks to assess whether the driver is under the influence of any substance or not. Police can ask the driver to undergo breath testing or a blood sample if he/she fails on SFST. These three tasks can test the abilities of a driver well and are allowed in court as evidence. SFST test includes:

  • Horizontal Gaze
  • Walk and turn test
  • One-leg stand test

2. Breath Testing

If a driver fails SFST, the police will ask to perform breath testing to check the driver’s BAC or Blood Alcohol Content. Usually, this works by estimating the alcohol content in the air the drivers breath-out on the machine.

Breath testing can measure the alcohol content as soon as 15 minutes after consuming alcohol. However, the alcohol content is highest in the air drivers breath out, about an hour after devouring it. 

3. Drug Recognition Evaluation

When a driver fails on the above two sets of the test, a Drug Recognition Expert or DRE officer will evaluate the driver impairment based on 12 steps of DRE. These steps are to identify and conclude three aspects of impairment:

  1. That the driver is impaired
  2. Impairment is due to drugs and not from a medical condition.
  3. Category of drugs.

Following Are The Twelve Steps To DRE:

  1. BAC count.
  2. Interview by the Arresting Officer.
  3. Preliminary Examination.
  4. Eye Examination.
  5. Test For Divided Attention 
  6. Examination For Vital signs.
  7. Pupil size Darkroom examination.
  8. Muscle tone.
  9. Injection sites Examination.
  10. Interrogation and statements.
  11. The opinion of a DRE officer.
  12. Obtaining a specimen for a Toxicology report

4. Approved Drug Screening Devices

These devices are used to screen the driver for examining alcohol content in their blood and several other tests to identify drug abuse. The officer will take the swab from the mouth or blood sample to test on various parameters. They can also ask to give a urine sample. 

What To Do About Impaired Driving

It is the responsibility of oneself to make sure they behave and keep the people around them safe. Often, impaired driving is an act of impulsive decisions after consuming alcohol or being under drugs’ influence. It is crucial to identify the triggers and avoid them in advance. 

Follow Certain Rules To Avoid Such Situations That Can Arise Due To Intoxication:

  • Be responsible.
  • Plan in advance to have a non-drinking partner or driver to accompany when drinking with a group.
  • Refusing and forbidding your friends and family to drive while they are impaired.
  • Use cab services to drive you back home or make use of a share a ride service whenever possible in case you are drinking. 
  • When hosting a drinking party, make arrangements for your guests. Have them plan and inform in advance about how they plan to get back to their respective places after the party.
  • Make sure your guests leave your party with a sober driver or have them book a cab to get back. 
  • Make cautious driving arrangements when inviting or taking part in an event where alcohol is served. 
  • Spend the night or until you are sober if you have no other option. 
  • Make sure to keep your vehicle at a safe distance if you see anyone driving erratically on the road. 
  • Take initiative to stop others from driving while being drugged or under alcohol influence.
  • Never try to misguide police by lying to them. Better to confront. 

Conclusion

For many people drinking and using drugs can be an activity of having fun and relaxation. Furthermore, being intoxicated to celebrate certain occasions or a small or big victory. For example, it is because your friend is getting married, getting a promotion, or it is the last day of your graduation, etc. It is easy to get carried away while enjoying yourself. 

It is easy to let go of the inhibition, especially after one has had a few drinks. But, keeping yourself and others around you safe requires predetermined decisions and calculated judgments. When you understand how crucial it is to have plans in place, you will not be this irresponsible. It is critical to know that it is life-threatening to drive under the influence.

According to statistics, one person is killed every 30 minutes due to road accidents caused by impaired driving. Your best defense against such a scenario is to prevent this from happening in the first place.

MASTER YOUR DRIVING TECHNIQUES

According to the World Health Organization, approximately 1.35 million people die each year because of road accidents. About 90% of road deaths and accidents are due to poor driving techniques and human error. 

A lot of them are also due to the driver’s negligence and recklessness. This is sad because other road users (pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists) are the ones who get hurt half of the time.

Mastering a few driving techniques can help you own various tricks and tips that will maximize your driving and road safety confidence. It would be best if you always looked forward to improving your driving skills to be better at defensive driving and better at teaching others the same.It is our duty as vehicle owners and drivers to ensure each other’s safety, protect other road users and maintain our vehicles’ conditions as much as we can.

Why is it essential to improve your driving skills?

Mastering your driving techniques is important to you and other road users. Simple mistakes and poor techniques can lead to severe consequences on the road. It is essential to polish and improve your driving skills so that you can protect yourself and others.

Moreover, who doesn’t want to be the best driver on the road, a Dominic Toretto, you might say, doing Fast and Furious like maneuvers – stunts from these movies should always be avoided, though.

Driving techniques and skills can diminish with time, and it is crucial to keep practicing. A lot of us tend to let go of the standard protocols once we get our license. With no one to examine or vet our methods, we drive as we wish, throwing away the required best practices. You need to polish your driving skills to become a better driver and a master at something beneficial.

Master your driving techniques

Characteristics of a safe driver

Everyone thinks they are good at driving. After passing the driver’s test and getting your license, your ego tends to become over-inflated. And it is okay; it happens. You start relaxing your seat way more than you should and start making sharp turns even when you know you shouldn’t.

You will need to frequently horn and improve your driving techniques to be considered a good driver. Learn a new method, excellent short cuts, and tricks. However, most of what makes a good driver has more to do with mental abilities than technical ones. Here is a list of a few characteristics of a good driver that can help you improve your driving skills:

1. Right attitude

The road can be frustrating and very tasking. It will test you daily, and this involves the driving conditions and other drivers too. The key to deal with all of this is to be calm and tolerant of the situation. 

A good driver knows how to take charge of his/her attitude in emergencies and minor road inconveniences. A good driver knows his/her habits, good or bad, and knows how to improve them. He/she also knows how to be present and carry out the best action in any given situation.

No one is perfect. There is always more to learn. Please have the right attitude towards your shortcomings and how to improve on them.

2. Knowledge and expertise

A good driver is fully aware of what he/she may encounter on the road, the rules to be followed, the places and conditions to avoid. He/she knows the vehicle’s ability and condition. He/she knows what may lead to accidents, which roads to take, and which ones to avoid.

3. Mastering defensive driving

Defensive driving entails the ability to understand, identify and react to potentially dangerous situations before they happen to protect yourself and others. 

Good drivers know how to anticipate, predict and react to various situations. Such situations may include; pedestrians about to cross the road, a driver about to overtake, the motion of other vehicles, obstacles on the road, stray animals, or even kids playing near the road. 

4. Patience

A good driver knows not to be impatient while behind the wheel. Traffic jams, car troubles, and impaired drivers’ presence on the road are enough to make any driver go crazy. You will need to learn how to collect and calm yourself in such situations if you want to be a good driver.

5. Responsibility

Good drivers take responsibility for their actions. Everyone makes mistakes here and then; owning them and taking steps to rectify them is a great skill. This is crucial, especially when you get involved in an accident and answer for it. 

6. Educated and trained

You obviously cannot call yourself a good driver if you are not well trained and educated from a reputable driving school. Yes, there are some things you can teach yourself or be taught by your parents. However, there are other things that you or your parents may overlook regardless of their importance. Furthermore, taking courses can teach you how to be a confident driver and improve your driving skills.

7. Car maintenance

A good driver knows that a poorly maintained car is unsafe for anyone on the road. Good drivers will regularly maintain their vehicles and keep them at optimal performance at all times.

Driving skill checklist

A driving skill checklist will help you prepare for the driver’s test and improve your driving techniques. There are a few standardized protocols that make most driving checklists, which we will list in this article. You can contact your local DMV for more information and guidelines.

Beginner level checklist

  1. Pre-vehicle checks.
  2. In-vehicle checks.
  3. Starting the vehicle.
  4. Smooth driving – how to move and steer the vehicle smoothly and correctly.
  5. A visual scan of the inside and outside of the vehicle
  6. Smooth braking – how to brake and stop the vehicle smoothly and accurately.
  7. Accurate turns.
  8. Backing up techniques.
  9. Parking techniques.
  10. Posture techniques.

Intermediate level checklist

  1. Following distance – a minimum of 2-second following distance.
  2. Communication with other drivers.
  3. Twelve seconds of scanning ahead.
  4. Rules and regulations – precisely road signs and speed limits at this level.
  5. Signaling – a minimum of 100 feet ahead of making a turn.
  6. Hazard identification.
  7. Parking – on a curb, on an incline, on an angle, and straight-in parking.
  8. Defensive driving – for rural areas, urban areas, hospitals, neighborhoods, and school zones.
  9. Roundabouts – entering and exiting.
  10. Intersections – maneuvering through open and traffic-controlled intersections correctly and safely.
  11. Scanning – in and around the vehicle.

Advanced level checklist

  1. Night visibility – compensating for reduced visibility at night for night driving.
  2. Weather visibility – compensating for different weather conditions; heavy rains, light rains, hail, and fog.
  3. Driving on the expressway.
  4. Highways – entering and exiting.
  5. Traffic – driving, and maneuvering through rush hour traffic and jams.
  6. Motorcyclists and cyclists – identifying and responding to the motions of motorcycles and bikes.
  7. Handling hazards – sufficiently addressing several tricky driving hazards.
  8. Emergency protocols – how to take yourself in emergencies and protocols to follow.
  9. Escape routes – identifying escape routes and best ways out of multiple road situations.

What should be noticed before getting on the road?

There is nothing more frustrating to a driver than his/her car breaking down in the middle of the road. It destroys your peace of mind, especially when you thought your car was fine. 

It is advisable to perform a thorough safety inspection, and if necessary, maintenance procedure before getting on the road. Here is a list of the things you will need to consider; some of them are easy and straight forward to do yourself, whereas others may need a mechanic:

1. Condition of your tires.

Tires need to be in the best condition, especially when you are getting on the road for hours on end. Tires are perhaps the most important and first part of the vehicle that you should always check. 

Check for any punctures or tears in your tire, and you can hire a mechanic to do this if you do not have the expertise or resources. Perform a pressure check on your tire to make sure it is well inflated.

You will also need to check the tread depth and see if the tires are incredibly worn out (the recommended safe tire depth is above 4/32 inches). Spare tires should replace worn-out ones immediately. This brings us to the next step – get a spare tire. Make sure the spare wheel has a wheel inflated tire with enough pressure.

2. Fluids and oil.

You will need to perform a couple of fluid checks: fuel, oil, brake fluid, coolant, transmission fluid, radiator coolant, windshield washer fluid, and power steering fluid. A mechanic will know exactly how to do all of these checks, but you can perform them yourself if you can.

You may be shocked that fuel checks are on this list, but surprisingly, most people forget and end up stuck in the middle of nowhere. 

Check your oil levels to see if they are between the minimum and maximum levels using your car’s dipstick. Add the oil if needed.

You do not want your car to overheat or your engine to freeze. Check coolant levels when the engine is cold and find the correct coolant that can be used to top it up if needed.

A tank under the bonnet houses the windshield washer fluid; check it and top it up with an appropriate replacement. You can find this at most petrol stations.

3. Leaks

After checking the fluids, you will now be in the right position to know if you have leaks under the hood. The leaks may be found in the components housing the fluids or along the hoses transmitting them. Another way to know your leak is to look on the floor of your garage for any shiny texture, oily-looking spills. 

You should fix the leaks immediately, if any.

4. Lights

You do not want to drive in an unknown region in those dangerous hours of the night with broken or malfunctioning lights. Fix broken ones and replace others if necessary.

5. Wipers

You should also check the wipers. Make sure they are working properly on the windscreen and avoid making your vision blurry.

6. Brake pads

In regular use, brake pads will eventually require replacements between 25 000 and 70 000 miles. Your driving style and vehicle model highly predicate this. Please take note of any unusual noises from the brake pads and report them to your mechanic. He/she will be able to determine if they are in good condition or need replacements.

7. Battery

4-year-old batteries need to be replaced since they have probably reached the end of their life cycles. Check for any corrosion on the terminals and clean them with hot water, apply petroleum jelly afterward.

Get the battery checked out if your engine has problems starting when you turn on the ignition. More importantly, your mechanic should check the starting and charging system – this is to notice whether your battery is being drained more than usual.

8. Steering

Problems with steering can be caused by poor wheel alignment. A mechanic or technician can take the car for a spin and note any irregular steering motions.

9. Air conditioning

You will not have fun on a road trip, especially during the summer, if your air conditioning is faulty or broken. You may be able to inspect the pipework visually, but you will need a professional to check the entire system thoroughly.

10. Air filters

Clogged air filters will not protect your car’s interior from outside particles and debris. It can also lead to poor fuel efficiency and reduced engine power. Mechanics recommend you change your air filters after 12 000 miles or after 12 months. Perform a visual inspection and replace them if needed.

Tips for mastering your skills

1. Driving training courses

It can be a little bit weird to go for driving training courses when you are already driving. However, these courses can be beneficial if you want to improve your driving techniques. 

Driving courses will teach you how to be a confident driver. There are some shortcuts, and speeding tricks that experienced drivers can only guide.

These courses are essential, especially those for defensive driving. Such courses will teach you how to avoid hazards on the road and anticipate multiple occurrences to predict potentially harmful situations.

2. Neglect your distractions

Ditch every distraction that may tempt you to look away from the road. These include; texts, calls, food, and even passengers. Your head should be kept straight and looking forward apart from the occasional glances at the rear-view and side mirrors.

3. Safety first

Ensure to adhere to all the safety vehicle and road precautions provided by your car manufacturer and the law in general. We all know that some may seem extreme, but it is better to be safe than sorry.

4. Know your vehicle

Good drivers have in-depth knowledge and understanding of their vehicles. 

5. Stick to the speed limit

The first reason to keep the speed limit is that it is a road rule and regulation. Getting stopped for over speeding is not fun for anybody.

The second reason is for your safety and car handling skills. High speeds will mess with your confidence and make you worried about your level of control and maneuverability. You will find it difficult to stop in time and make specific movements, especially if you notice an incoming accident.

Moreover, steady speeds will help you perform head checks – to safely look away from the driving lane to check for objects on the sides of the driving lane. 

6. Don’t worry about other drivers

Fear, worry, and intimidation may prompt you into worrying about other drivers. Don’t. Focus on your driving, do not be distracted. Please don’t focus on the other drivers, whether they are speeding or doing certain maneuvers. Keep your head straight and pay attention to the road.

7. Practice

Practice! Practice! Practice!

It does indeed make things perfect. As you may well know, you have to practice something if you ever want to be good at it. Driving is no exception. 

You can practice by changing locations, going to rough rounds, longer roads, curvy roads, residential areas, rural and urban areas. You can also use simulation games to practice hand-eye coordination, speed changing when making turns, and judging distances.

Conclusion 

Mastering the most crucial driving techniques can seem like a less important thing for typical drivers to do. Most drivers will be okay with knowing the bare minimum. However, it is essential always to remember the benefits of mastering these driving techniques.

The skills will help you avoid lots of close calls, reduce damages to your vehicle, reduce injuries from minor and major accidents, lower repair costs, but most importantly, reduce stress while driving.

Texting While Driving – What You Should Know

Driving requires your complete attention as one moment of misjudgment can cause devastative results. The result may be irreversible since an accident can result in loss of limbs, deformation, or loss of life. Moreover, your loved ones who tried to contact you on the other end will remain shattered for a lifetime for their inadvertent mistake. All this happens just because you could not resist your temptation to look towards your mobile screen for few seconds. 

It all seems simple and nothing hazardous because you have done it a thousand times before. When you can get through it so many times, why should you stop doing it now? Every time you text and drive, you are putting yourself and others at known risk. One single traffic accident time is enough to turn your life topsy-turvy. Why would you want to knock on the door of death knowingly by increasing your chances of risk by 23 times? Nothing is worth imperiling your life as you do not remain to enjoy the benefits of whatever you jeopardized your life for. 

What makes you put yourself in such a dangerous position which is not worth your life? How did this texting and driving start, and why has it become a significant issue? Who is more vulnerable, and why? Here the possible causes and solutions are discussed in this article. 

The Problem Of Texting While Driving

You are responsible for several lives directly or indirectly while driving the vehicle. What happens when you do not consider distraction driving is a risk and text while navigating?

1. Illegal: In several states, it is unlawful to drive while texting. It may lead to a ticket, fine, or jail, depending on the state laws.

2. Insurance Issues: Your ticket will lead to an increase in your insurance prices if you are to pay it and reduced insurance repayments when you receive the benefits.

3. Vehicle Damage: When you are heading fast in your vehicle and trying to text, the possibility of hitting any objects on your way or another vehicle increases. Your automobile is most likely to be damaged when you bump into something speedily. It will need repairs which again are not cheap.

4. Injuries And Fatalities: Texting and driving increase the risk of traffic accidents. There are high chances of injuries and possible fatalities. It can involve you, co-passengers, or others on the road.

5. Autocorrect Mishaps: If you ever were a autocorrect victim, you will know what I am speaking of. While driving, you do not check your message as attentively as you usually do. It can lead to a catastrophe with just a single auto-corrected word capable of giving a whole new meaning to the text. Well, this reason though not physically damaging but can lead to strained relations.

The pain you incurred burdens your loved ones, but they will also be afflicted with something else. They can never get through the guilt of sending that text message, which left you crippled.

Why It Is Risky To Text When You Drive

The top reason for traffic accidents is distracted driving. The shocking reason for the inattentiveness of drivers is mainly due to texting and driving. Nearly half a million people faced fatalities and crashiing injuries as they were texting while driving. Even though 97% of drivers agree that it is harmful, they still cannot control this behavior, despite being aware of it. 

The appalling detail is that several of them are youngsters who engage in long texting time while driving. Apart from texting, several other functionalities the modern-day brought about into our pocket are also the reason. Navigation, music, texting, and attending calls while driving are all dangerous feats, especially when driving at high speeds. 

How Is Texting A Dangerous Distraction?

Distraction during driving is caused by many activities such as eating, talking to passengers, adjusting music, or answering a phone call. However, texting is the most attention-seeking activity to apply your mind and vision away from the road. You may also be driving one-handed while texting with others, which makes it challenging to manipulate the vehicle when in danger.

  1. Vision – You need to look at the cell phone to read the message or notification and your eyes wander away from the road ahead. As you speed while looking away from the road, you will never know what changes in a moment. There are high chances of missing useful information such as signals or a slowing down car in front of you. It will be too late to attend to the potential hazard when you smash right into the vehicle.
  2. Mind – Your mind shifts the focus from what is coming ahead on the road to what’s the message? And what to reply? These few seconds of distraction makes a considerable difference in critical decision making. You could have made a better one that avoids the destruction if you were not distracted driving.
  3. Physical – When you start using one of your hands for typing, you will be controlling the vehicle with only one hand. If and adversity surfaces steering your car off, it will not be as easy and quick as when you are in control with two hands. A moving vehicle needs to be fast enough to avoid traffic accidents, and in this case, your efficiency for swiftness decreases significantly.

How About Alternatives For Texting

There are other alternatives to texting while driving, which seemingly require lesser attention can make your life safer. Though not totally but they do have an absolute advantage over direct texting and driving.

  • Voice Recognition: These applications take the dictated message, which does not require your hands to type the text. The only thing is you need to select the contacts manually, but still, it does reduce the risk considerably.
  • Auto Responders: Your caller or message sender receives a pre-written message which tells them why you cannot answer them at that moment. When they receive a proper response that you are busy driving, it keeps them informed and you at ease.
  • Text Blockers: When your vehicle’s speed is above 10 mph, texting is disabled automatically. Generally, this is the most preferred app by teenagers’ parents as it does not allow them to text if they are driving at high speed.

The solution lies in controlling your urge to check your messages while you are on the move. It is as simple as turning your cell phone off for messages. Alternatively, you can rely on few applications to help if you cannot stop yourself from promptly looking at your phone when it lights up. 

These apps serve as temptation resisters even for highly addicted individuals as they operate automatically based on few parameters like the vehicle’s speed. However, you need to install them and turn them on to use the apps to avoid distraction.

Who Is Affected?

Young people are at high risk as habituated to use their cell phones even before driving. Also, they expect an instant response, which explains why they immediately check messages or reply. However, even elders admit having long text conversations while driving and again forget that their kids are watching them doing it. If you look at the big picture, everyone who cannot control the urge to reach their cell phone to send texts while driving is at risk. 

Texting can wait

How Can ItCanWait Simulator Help You?

IT CAN WAIT campaign has introduced few measures to help bring about comprehensive awareness of this issue. It encourages you to take a pledge that binds you to the promise of not responding to texts until it is safe to do so. Apart from the pledge, it also enlightens drivers of the consequences of using the virtual reality experience.

To have a complete experience, you need a VR chair, app, and internet connection to support the video. When you are ready with all the necessary arrangements and start using the simulator app, you will feel like you are driving on a real road. While you are navigating through obstacles, you will receive a text message which distracts your attention. While steering, you must reply to the text and are distracted. Here the simulator app shows you what disaster distracted driving can cause. You will be able to experience an accident or crash, and many agree that it is a life-changing moment.

This initiative by AT&T is towards making roads safer, and there are constant improvements and additions to this initiative. It has several other parts of this program where the simulator is an influential part of this effort.

Conclusion

Nearly 50% of people text while they drive, even after knowing the consequences they need to face. Among the young people in the age group of 16 to 20 are most affected due to texting distraction issues. What’s more astonishing is they do it even after knowing the impairment they might face. The best way to help them think more seriously about it is by exposing them to the scenario without really endangering them. Simulation apps play a significant role in getting the job done as they virtually provide a real case experience. Hopefully, this experiment serves to bring about a change in drivers’ mindset and lead to betterment that reduces traffic disasters. 

BE ALERT: Don’t Drink And Drive

What Is Alcohol-Impaired Driving

Being in physical control of alcohol or operating a vehicle while being intoxicated is called alcohol-impaired driving. Alcohol-impaired drinking is also known as drunk driving. Using a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol count (BAC) of at least 0.08% is a punishable offense. Alcohol impairs the reasoning and thinking capabilities of the brain. Consumption of alcohol can impair driving skills, and it can be dangerous for the person in question and others out there. The amount of alcohol needed to affect an individual differs from person to person, so driving under the influence of alcohol is dangerous in any situation.

Facts About Drunk Driving

If you are wondering why drunk driving is such a big issue, consider looking at the following facts:

  • After drinking, it takes about six hours for a body to eliminate alcohol from its system with a BAC level of .08 g/dl. This level is dangerous as the drunk driver is 11 times more likely to face a fatal accident from the driver with no alcohol consumption. 
  • 75% of drunk drivers get involved in fatal collisions because of not wearing seat belts. 
  • Drugs are also involved in nearly 18% of the accidents and consumed along with the alcohol. Even consumption of 3-4 beers is enough for a 170-pound man to make him too drunk. For females, the quantity varies to 1-3. 
  • On average, each drunk driver has driven 80 times before getting arrested for the first time. In comparison, men are twice as likely as women to be involved in an accident under alcohol influence.
  • Alcohol is responsible for over half of the teenage deaths due to road accidents. A teenager is likely to die every 15 minutes in case of drunk driving.
  • Drunk driving mostly occurs in rural countries than in major cities. 

Underage Drinking

Alcohol consumption is prevalent among the youth in the US, which is followed by dreadful outcomes. Underage drinking can cause many health problems that may show up later, like heart diseases, liver problems, high blood pressure, disrupt one’s sleeping cycle, and so on. It can also make room for risky behavioral changes such as drinking and driving and trigger depression, anxiety, and other mental health-related issues.

Underage drinkers most easily fall for binge drinking when facing problems, turning them into an alcoholic in the later stage. Apart from the health issues, it also affects their performance at school/college/universities and sabotages the concentration levels.

What Is Underage Drinking

Consumption of alcohol by people under the age of 21 is called underage drinking and is considered an offense in the United States. Underage drinking is punishable, followed by cancellation of license, fine/penalty, or jail. An individual can legally drink after the age of 21. 

Adolescents are not considered responsible enough for drinking before a certain age. They can put themselves as well as others into problems that could be fatal at times.

Underage drinking

Consequences Of Underage Drinking

Underage drinking can affect an individual physically, psychologically, and legally, potentially dangerous and deadly. You must be wondering how and why it is so. Well, here are the following consequences to educate you about the severity of this cause.

1.     Physical Aspects

Underage drinking causes severe behavioral changes such as thrill-seeking and risky behavior, which includes drunk driving. Every year many teenagers lose their lives to accidents that involve at least one person who’s under the influence of alcohol. Teenagers might also get involved in violence where they can be the victim or the accused. 

Binge drinking can also affect their brain’s development and cause other serious health problems like cancer, liver-related issues, and heart problems. There could be an increase in the risk of sexual assault and other risky sexual behaviors. Underage drinking also plays a significant role in leading them towards alcoholism.

2.     Psychological Aspects

As stated above, underage drinking severely affects the development of the brain and hinders its functioning. Down the line could cause memory loss, lack of cognitive abilities, lack of concentration, and short attention span. All these factors can influence an individual’s grade and personal performance. Consumption of alcohol can also trigger mental health issues like anxiety and depression.

3.     Legal Consequences

Under the laws of the United States, underage drinking is considered an offense and is punishable. It can cause legal consequences, including fines, imprisonment, community service, and license cancellation, followed by a lifelong trauma. The parent or guardian of the individual can also be held liable for any injuries caused under alcohol influence if consumed in their home.

How To Prevent Teenagers From Underage Drinking

Trying out alcohol is very common among teenagers these days. There is no safe amount of alcohol for consumption by teenagers or individuals practicing underage drinking. Why? Because it has a lot of harmful effects which start showing up later in one’s life.

1.     Be A Good Influence

Their friends and family mostly influence a teen’s behavior. If you have an underage individual around you, you can play a crucial role in their future drinking habits. Being a good influence is all about how you pursue and talk about alcohol around adolescents in your company or family. 

2.     Creating A Safe Environment

One should not normalize the consumption of alcohol or other habits associated with it. Parents should build up a friendly environment for their children to make it easy for them to talk about such things. They should educate about the necessity for good company while drinking not to get influenced wrongly. Create a safe environment for any further discussions.

3.     Education Is The Key

It’s indispensable to educate them about all the harmful effects of alcohol, how it affects their health, and how it induces risky behavioral instincts. Teenagers get influenced by the people around them, so it is imperative to drink responsibly in front of them. 

4.     Alcohol Is Not An Escape

Drinking under stress or portraying alcohol as an escape from a “bad day” should be avoided. You could unknowingly end up cultivating serious alcoholism problems in your child because they will start treating alcohol as their getaway. 

Educating underage individuals about drunk driving, risky sexual behaviors, using other drugs, and binge drinking plays a vital role in their future drinking habits and how they handle them responsibly.

How Severe Is Drunk Driving?

At this point, you might feel drinking is preventable, so why make such a big fuss about it. Though it is indeed unstoppable, liquor’s addictive nature doesn’t allow a person to escape it that easily. Driving under the influence of drinking is a leading cause of death in the USA. Approximately 30 people die every day due to drunk driving, and these are just the reported deaths we are talking about. More than 100 million drivers detected driving under alcohol’s influence in a year.

Alcohol plays with your mind. It deceives you into overconfidence and makes you dizzy. The worst part is that the detected drivers make up for the population of drugged driving figures. Imagine how disastrous a person’s driving under the toxication of multiple drugs and alcohol would be!

There are multiple awareness programs for drinking addiction and drunk driving plight, but how effective are they? The number of drunk drivers is increasing day by day exponentially, and the strictest of laws are turning out to be redundant. 

One more critical issue related to drunk driving is its prevalence in youngsters. Teenagers are not only drowned in drugs and alcohol but drive rashly and indulge in road rash daily. Though there are laws and penalties imposed on illegal drinking, as mentioned earlier, they are insufficient. 

How To Detect Drunk Drivers

Do you ever ponder upon how police detect drunk drivers? Except for the breathalyzer and other medically approved ways, there are certain tell-tale traits of an impaired driver.

1.     Looking For The Signs

Police look for signs like accelerating, zigzagging on the road, driving recklessly, hitting other objects or motor vehicles, jumping traffic signals, or any further indication associated with reckless driving. If any of the stated signs are registered, police are most likely to pull you over and check your alcohol consumption.

2.     Screening And Breathalyser

Initially, there is a conducted screening at the roadside to detect if the individual is under the influence of alcohol. If tested positive, a breathing test is undertaken further at the police station. For more detailed analysis, police can also ask for a blood test. If the BAC is at least 0.08%, there will be an initiation of legal actions like license cancellation for another 24 hours or fine, or both. Repeated offenders will have to face the revocation of their license permanently.

3.     How To Be Of Help

How can you help the police? First of all, don’t drink and drive. You can be of great help if you stop yourself and others around you from driving under the influence of alcohol. If you notice any other individual driving recklessly or sense any of the above-stated traits, call 911. 

Do not try to stop or follow the vehicle. You might end up hurting yourself or breaking traffic rules. The best possible way is to inform the police about such situations and let them do their job. You can note down the number plate, the vehicle’s color, the car model, or any other specification that could help spot the car.

Prevention

It is rather frightening to know that one-third of total crashes and deaths happen because of drunk driving. If these facts are not enough to warn you about the lethality of driving under alcohol’s influence, you must know that most drunk drivers are youth.

If there are pressing considerations upon this issue, the crisis is not unstoppable. Following are some preventive measures you should adapt to dodge any mishap and to lend a hand in the effective prohibition of drinking under the influence of alcohol: 

1.     Find A Driver

If you drink and immediately have to travel to someplace, ask a friend to drive you. There is no shame in asking for help in times of need like this, and this way, you can avoid dare consequences. Offer guidance to people after a party and ensure their safety as a responsible citizen. Your little efforts will not only save them but other people on the streets too. 

2.     Call For A Taxi

There could be circumstances where finding a friend to drive is impossible. Well, in such cases, you can always call a taxi or Uber and reach home without endangering your and other people’s lives.

3.     Caution Friends And Loved Ones

Talking openly about this topic among friends and family is the need of the hour. Get comfortable in initiating such talks, and don’t be imposing. Try to convince the younger ones against drinking and, more importantly, driving afterward. 

Children in their growing age enjoy the freedom and sometimes end up making bad decisions. In such times you need to talk them out of that situation and help them. Always look for warning signs. Monitor your child’s activities, and the kind of company they have, their behavior towards their studies and family members. 

4.     Do Not Over Drink

Keep your consumption in check. When drinking outside, consume alcoholic drinks within a limit. Over drinking can deceive you and make you believe that you can drive the day, but it’s an illusion. Be wise.

5.     Do Not Mix Alcohol With Other Drugs

The blending of alcohol with drugs amplifies the total effect and cause various impairments. Keep in mind, never mix drugs with alcohol! 

Conclusion 

With the increasing anxiety issue and depleting mental health, consumption of alcohol has become the new normal. People of every age indulge in alcoholism without speculating its consequence in later life and suffer. When drinking and driving, coupled together, the outcome is nothing but deadly. Encourage talks around you and warn people against the severe aftermaths of drunk driving.

DRUG DRIVING: Why Is It Dangerous And How To Maintain Safety

Driving under the effect of any drug could be dangerous not only for the driver but for all the other people present on the streets. Drugs can cause dizziness, lack of bodily coordination, poor judgment, aggressive driving, hallucination, etc. Driving under such influence can lead to crashes and accidents. 

When we say drugs, it’s not just the illegal ones under the radar. All the prescribed and over the counter dosages of drugs can also affect driving in adverse ways. Alcohol with drugs is a deadly combination. Most of the drugged drivers generally consume the blend, making it difficult to determine which substance had a more significant effect. 

Facts About Drug Driving

  • Individuals aged between 21 to 25 years are most likely to drive under the influence of drugs. Serious consideration has to be reflected in the problem of drug abuse in youngsters.
  • Among the total population of drugged drivers, the majority of tests affirm consuming more than one drug. More than 40% of people drive under the influence of alcohol mixed with drugs. 
  • Drug tests performed by cops’ roadside can detect many drugs, including MDMA, THC, and methamphetamine.
  • Under various states’ laws, a driver who has consumed many drugs can undergo suspension of their driving license 24 hours.

Which Population Drives The Most Under The Influence Of Drugs?

Teens! Youth today are drowning under drug abuse, and the issue is not unknown to anyone. A recent survey shows that one out of every six college going teens have driven at least once under the influence of drugs. Cannabis and cocaine are the most common drugs consumed by high schoolers and college students. As the teens speed up and drive rashly under the effects of drugs, fatal accidents on the streets are mostly caused by this age group.

Older people who consume prescribed drugs also hold a notable place among the population of drug drivers. Due to improper dosage and delayed breakdown of drugs in the body, the older individuals get tricked into aggression and intoxication while driving.

Studies have shown that men are more likely to drive under the spell of drugs and cause accidents than women. One reason for this is because men cover more miles than women and drive powerful cars. Due to this, the impact of speeding and crashes are higher as well.

How Drugs Affect Driving

Drugs manipulate brain functions. Illegal ones are more efficient in playing with the mind and tricking the body. Drugs can cause paranoia, sleepiness, nausea, blurred visions, convulsions, lousy coordination, hyperactivity, aggression, reduced judgment, and much more. Many drivers suffer from weak muscles after consuming drugs resulting in the incapability of quick reflexes. Older people might get unconscious while driving and put their lives along with others at risk after taking medicines.

  1. Marijuana

Marijuana causes drowsiness and makes the brain incapable of judging the situation appropriately. A person who has combined marijuana with alcohol or opioids is at a greater risk of accidents. If consumed in a high amount, marijuana makes it impossible to judge the speed and time with accuracy and causes distraction. What’s worse is, it impairs the reaction mechanism of the body and slows down the reflexes. By the time you get to know what has happened, the mishap already happens. 

2. Cocaine

It is best to stay away from driving after the consumption of cocaine. It builds a false impression of the mind being active and alert, whereas, in reality, many of the bodily functions are impaired. When combined with antidepressants is one of the most common methods of taking cocaine; it can increase aggressiveness and impulsive behavior. 

In comparison with marijuana, cocaine is more capable of causing extreme consequences while driving. If injected with heroin, it can result in heart strokes and deaths.

3. Tranquilizers

Tranquilizers are like depressants for the nervous system. After their consumption, the coordination between mind and body is most likely to impair. The speech and action control is severely affected, and dizziness engulfs all the activeness. Alcohol can add to these adverse effects of tranquilizers and increase the severity of outcomes. Usually, people combine stimulants with tranquilizers to set aside stress.

4. Opiates

These substances result in laziness and delayed response of the body. It can impair vision and cause breathlessness. When consumed with alcohol, heroin, or any other drugs, opiates can increase the blood’s toxicity and result in a drug overdose. People driving under the influence of opiates have a poor judgment of time and speed, have trouble in changing lanes, and can undergo a respiratory arrest. 

5. Amphetamines

Amphetamines boost the driver’s risk-taking tendencies. It causes depressing effects and manipulates the concentration levels in the blood. If combined with MAO inhibitors or marijuana, it can result in hypertensive disasters. 

6. Multiple Drug Consumption

Combining hard drugs is the worst idea one can come up with. Polydrug usage can have additive, synergistic, or antagonistic effects. It can either double the symptoms, amplify the total impact to an exponential rate, or result in a nullity. In any way, you will lose your overall control over your body and mind. Driving under such influence will undoubtedly make an individual contribute to unanticipated accidents and put other people’s lives in danger as well.

Multiple Drug Consumption

How About Using Medicines While Driving

The FDA advises to check the prescribed medicines’ components and discuss their effects with a medical professional before consumption. Most of the common medicines are safe for driving but might cause mild symptoms of drowsiness. Depending on your body, the effect of medications might vary from individual to individual. Following are some side-effects that might happen after the consumption of common medicines: 

  • Inability to be attentive
  • Drowsiness
  • Short term inefficiency in hearing and seeing
  • Hyperactivity
  • Fainting
  • Vomiting and frequent gag reflexes
  • Poor coordination
  • Slow reaction

Knowing your medicines is very crucial if you are planning to drive afterward. Common cold and flu medicines mainly don’t implicate severe side effects and are safe. But if you are on hard medication, there are a few things you need to know.

Pain relievers, antidepressants, muscle relaxers, anti-seizure, psychotic drugs, etc., can alter your capability of staying attentive and awake. Though prescribed by doctors and safe to use, you might face problems indulging in physical activities. Driving is one such activity that needs full concentration and reflex. A detailed discussion with the doctor and thorough inquiry of ingredients in the meds will prevent severe driving casualties. 

Tips For Keeping Safe

If you consume alcohol or drugs of any sort, you must include a few things in your lifestyle for safety. As a responsible citizen, everyone must not put lives in danger due to personal recklessness. Many people have lost their loved ones in road hazards, and the numbers don’t seem to go down any soon. Below are some tips to be incorporated by everyone to save lives from falling into the adversity of road crashes: 

1. Calling Designated Drivers Whenever Needed

Calling a driver at times of need is nothing to be ashamed of. All of us have bad days, and it’s something you should opt for if the alcohol and drugs have messed you instead of providing a good time. Offering someone a safe drive home is also a conscious and commendable action. Try not to push yourself in a drugged state as your body might not respond to your expectation and trick you into wrongful decision-making. 

2. Cautioning Friends And Loved Ones

You must be familiar with the conditions and habits of your close ones. Turning a blind eye to their actions can result in casualty. Caution your friends and family members about the harmful effects of drug driving and encourage them to keep their consumption levels in check.

3. Discussing With Your Doctors

Sometimes people don’t enquire enough about the medicines that are prescribed to them. It is critical to check the components of the drugs you are taking and understand throw effects. Learn the proper methods for storing the medication. A little carelessness might alter the chemical balance of the compound, giving out unfavorable side-effects. Ask your doctor about the compatibility of medicines with other beverages and food items. Some drugs do not go well with alcohol and reflect severe damage to body balance.

4. Avoiding Driving

The best way to dodge a drug- caused accident is by avoiding driving at all. You can use public transport or make use of a friend in times of need. Call a cab or taxi if nothing works out. Ask and provide rides to friends after a party with drug and alcohol use. 

5. Reading The Warning Labels

Medicines and drugs come with instructions to use and warning. Read the full description before consuming the substance. You might also want to cross-check with your doctor in case of doubts. Do not form myths and conceptions about drugs and their effects. People tend to show overconfidence in matters of drugs and suffer from negative consequences later. 

6. No Overdose

Anything taken in an excessive quantity than prescribed can result in dreadful aftermaths. It’s right in the case of drugs too. Do not overestimate your capacity and keep a check on the consumption levels. 

7. Keep Yourself Away From Mixing Drugs

The blending of drugs can cause antagonistic, additive, and synergistic effects. It can amplify the total impact and make your body vulnerable. Continuous use of mixed drugs will alter your mind and body coordination. Drugs like marijuana, meth, amphetamines, cocaine, etc., should never be mixed with alcohol. Liquor causes drowsiness and poses difficulty in making conscious decisions. You might feel fine after the immediate consumption, but the cumulative effect may show up much magnified later when you are driving. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can prescription drugs be taken while driving?

Yes, prescription drugs are generally safe for driving purposes, but some of them might cause drowsiness, loss of balance, poor coordination, blurred vision, etc. It is advised to discuss the possible side effects of prescribed medicines and their compatibility with driving with your doctor.

2. What happens if you test positive for drugs while driving?

If you test in affirmation for drugs in a roadside drug test as a first-time offender, you will have to pay the prescribed fine, and your driving license will be suspended for a short period. If the same behavior is continued and you get caught for repetitive offense twice or thrice, the driver’s license could be subjected to disqualification, and there might be a need to visit the courts.

3. What are the riskiest behaviors while drug driving?

First of all, drugged drivers tend to Overspeed vehicles in almost all cases. Negligence towards the traffic signs and recklessly changing lanes are the other two most rocky behaviors during drug driving.

4. Are there any laws against drug drinking in the United States Of America?

Eleven states, including Arizona, Rhode Island, Michigan, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Oklahoma, and Utah, have zero-tolerance against driving under drugs’ influence. The other states to have laws that put penalties in terms of a monetary fine, prescribe suspension of driving license, and allows the state to initiate court proceedings against drugged drivers.

5. Which is safer driving drunk or high?

Studies have revealed that drunk driving is much more dangerous than driving under the effects of smoking marijuana. If your body has adjusted to marijuana consumption, it is as safe as driving sober. Hard drugs, on the other hand, are most dreadful and not at all safe for driving. 

Conclusion

Determination of the exact effects of drugs on driving is difficult. When consumed together with alcohol, the tests are incapable of showing which substance had a more significant effect on the drivers. During the roadside drug tests, police typically don’t test for drugs but stop after finding raised blood-alcohol level. However, this won’t help you out of a situation as a DUI charge might result in your license suspension. With the increase in stress and anxiety issues today, consumption of drugs and alcohol is touching heights. People have started indulging in drugs at very early ages, which also impairs their overall growth. There is a broad scope for ameliorating laws to come into action before the situation goes out of control. As individuals, we all need to encourage open discussion about the issue and spread awareness for a positive change. 

TEEN DRIVING FACTS

Teen driving statistics and facts

Driving is undeniably one of the most relevant skills today. However, as a parent, having a teen who is of driving age could be very troubling. Teenagers are not exactly known to be cautious, and handing them the keys to a car could prove fatal. Several statistics show that driving is among the top causes of death and injuries among teenagers. Factors like distracted driving, alcohol use, etc., have also been shown to contribute to the increased number of driving fatalities among teenagers. Despite this, it is not possible to utterly put an end to teen driving. Instead, the solution lies in implementing safety guidelines and educating teens on safe driving procedures. As a parent, teacher, or guardian, here are some facts and statistics about teen driving that you must know.

  • In the US alone, about 2500 teens were killed and 285,000 injured in road-related accidents in 2018. 
  • Male teens are twice more likely to die from motor accidents than female teenagers within the same age group. 
  • Teenagers with newly acquired driving licenses were more likely to be involved in a motor accident, which often occurred between the first 6 months of getting the license. 
  • Driving teens between the ages of 16 and 17 are 3 times more likely to be involved in a fatal car accident. 
  • Teen drivers made up 7% of the total deaths from car crashes in 2018. 
  • In 2018, 78% of death caused by car crashes involved teen drivers in passenger vehicles. 63% of this consisted of teen drivers within the ages of 16 – 19.
  • Distracted driving accounts for up to 10 % of motor vehicle accidents involving teen drivers. 
  • Texting while driving increased the risk of car accidents by 23 times, and this behavior is common among teenage drivers. 
  • The fatality rate for 16-year-old teenage drivers is 9 times more than that for adult drivers between 30 and 60. 
  • Teenage drivers are involved in 20 percent of car crashes and 14 percent of all motor accident-related deaths. 
Teen driving

Why Teen drivers often cause accidents

From the statistics above, teen drivers are more likely than drivers of other age groups to be involved in car accidents. This is because they are more likely to engage in any number of high-risk behavior while driving. Here are some of the factors and behaviors that increase the risk of teen driving accidents. 

Driver Error 

Teenage drivers are generally inexperienced. They lack the finesse that comes with years of driving experience. However, road conditions remain the same for both experienced and inexperienced drivers. Combining teen drivers’ inexperience and dangerous road conditions like rain or snow, it is evident that their lack of experience places them at a severe disadvantage. Coupled with this is that teen drivers are less likely to adhere to safety measures like wearing seat belts while driving. A study by the National Occupant Protection Use Survey showed that within 2016 – 2018, teen drivers used their seat belts less than adult drivers (1). This risky behavior is even more pronounced among teens who were not driving but occupied a vehicle driven by another teen. A possible explanation for this behavior could be because they are new to driving and are not fully accustomed to using seat belts. To reinforce this habit, some states in the US have come up with laws that empower law enforcement officers to pull over drivers who aren’t using their seat belts. 

  1. Distraction

Distraction is anything that steals your attention from a preferred area of focus. A distracted driver is a hazardous person because they are potentially harmful to themselves and other road users. When driving, a few seconds of distraction could be the difference between life and death. Distraction among teen drivers is pervasive today and one of the leading causes of car crashes. Common distractions are texting while driving, answering or making calls, changing the radio station, eating, using a map, or talking to a passenger while driving. The impact of these actions is emphasized when you consider the inexperience of teen drivers. 

According to this report, 39 % of high school students said they had texted or sent an email at least once while driving. 

Here are some quick facts about distracted driving;

  • Talking on a phone while driving doubles the risk of having an accident. 
  • Dialing a number while driving increases the risk of an accident by 6 times. 
  • Sending or replying to a text while driving increases the risk of an accident by 23 times. 

All three behaviors listed above are shared among teen drivers, which explains the higher rate of car accidents among the age group. These behaviors are also linked to the increasing use of phones while driving, which is also very common among teenage drivers. 

2. Nighttime and Weekend Driving

Driving at night or going on a long weekend drive can be both physically and mentally challenging, especially for new drivers. According to a CDC transportation department report, 37% of car fatalities involving teenage drivers occur at night. This doesn’t surprise as any experienced driver will know that driving at night requires extra attention and puts more strain on the driver. This statistic raises so much concern and also emphasizes the role of inexperience among teen drivers. The report says that 52 % of these nighttime crashes occur mostly between Friday and Sunday (2). Careful consideration of this information will reveal that most teens go on camping or long trips during the weekends. Now driving for a long time can be exhausting, and the risk only increases at night because the driver may feel sleepy due to tiredness and exhaustion. Therefore, it is not advisable for teen drivers who are yet to build their stamina to embark on such risky adventures. 

3. Speeding

Over speeding is a widespread cause of car accidents, and compared to adult drivers, teens are more likely to over speed and give less headway. This negligent and risky behavior accounted for 32 % of fatal motor accidents involving teen drivers (3). The danger of overspeeding is that the driver has less time to make a quick decision if faced with any risk. An example is when the car skids in snow or if a deer suddenly runs across the road. 

4. Use of Alcohol

Driving under the influence of alcohol is a recipe for disaster. Even adults who are experienced drivers have met a devastating end; how much more teen drivers have less experience and poor reflexes. Alcohol intake is known to reduce reflex responses and even cause blurred vision, increasing the risk of an accident if the person is driving. Teenage drivers are at a higher risk of being involved in a car crash, even with a blood alcohol concentration that is less than that of an adult driver (2).

What teenagers must know before driving

It is the place of a parent, teacher, or guardian to teach teen drivers what they should know about driving. It would be best if you made them understand that there is a lot more involved in driving than merely moving the car from one place to another. This awareness will undoubtedly prepare them for the challenges they will encounter while driving. 

Here are some of the essential driving facts that every teen driver should know;

  1. Awareness

Teenage drivers should know the common factors and behaviors that could put their lives in danger while driving. The factors outlined in this article are an excellent place to start. These driving facts and statistics are essential in creating awareness about car accidents’ common causes and how to avoid them. Knowing this will improve their chances of survival by ensuring they stay alert and avoid unnecessary risk. 

2. Use of Seat belt at all times.

Teen drivers should be encouraged to use their seat belts at all times, whether they are driving the vehicle or not. It is a known fact that seatbelts have saved many drivers who would otherwise be gravely injured or dead. Unfortunately, teen drivers rank the lowest among drivers who use the seat belt while driving (4). Most states have primary or secondary seat belt laws that enforce the use of seat belts while driving. The primary seat belt law permits law enforcement officers to pull over any driver who does not use the seat belt. In states where it is practiced, the strategy has helped increase seat belts use even among teenage drivers. 

3. No Use of Alcohol

The US laws prohibit the use of alcohol for anyone below the age of 21 years. Despite this fact, a 2017 study showed that up to 24% of teen drivers who were killed in car crashes were under the influence of alcohol (5). Another study showed that 15% of teen drivers within the age of 16-20 involved in deadly motor accidents had a blood alcohol concentration that will be illegal for adults aged 21 years and above (6). These studies prove that alcohol consumption is typical among teenage drivers and should be curtailed. 

4. Driver License

Enroll your teenage driver is specialized licensing systems like the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) system. These programs place restrictions on teen drivers and limit their exposure to the factors and behaviors that could put their lives at risk. These include prohibiting the use of mobile phones while driving and the presence of other teen passengers. 

How the itcanwait simulator can help

Itcanwait simulator is an app developed by AT&T to help in educating people on the dangers of texting while driving. AT&T, armed with the motor “no text is worth dying for….it can wait,” started a campaign to reduce road accidents by creating awareness on the dangers of texting while driving. The essential advantage of using the itcanwait simulator app in educating teen drivers is that it gives them a detailed experience of real-life car crashes resulting from distractions. 

If experience is the best teacher, then this app is truly the best. It provides the background without the dangers of real-life scenarios, but the lessons are the same. During the simulation, the user who is the driver will have to navigate through the streets while texting. The simulation environment is constructed to make it as realistic as possible. 

The result is a lasting impact on how dangerous it is to text and drive. Another advantage of this app is that it is available on both mobile and desktop platforms. The mobile version is convenient and can be operated with simple controls like any driving game. For a 3D experience, you can use the Oculus gear VR. 

Additionally, the itcanwait website provides other helpful resources that can be used for educational purposes. Drivers are also prompted to pledge never to text and drive. Making this pledge instills a feeling of responsibility, and these drivers become committed to maintaining safe driving practices. You can click on this link to download the app. 

Conclusion 

Teen drivers pose a significant risk to themselves as well as other road users. This is because they are inexperienced and also engage in risky behaviors while driving. The impact of a car crash could be devastating to the victim and their family. Losing a child is a situation that no parent will want to be in, and we understand that. This is why It is crucial to educate your teenage driver on the primary driving facts and teach them how to be more careful and responsible. To help you with this, the article has covered most aspects of teen driving. The information provided within the article helps parents and guardians with teens that are of driving age or close. All statistics provided within the article are fact-based and backed by research. They are proven strategies to help prevent car crashes involving teen drivers and improve the overall safety of our roads. 

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