April is Distracted Driving Month
Thousands have died in car crashes involving cell phone use. The National Safety Council observes April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month to draw attention to this epidemic.
A seven-year study conducted by the AAA Foundation revealed distracted driving among teens can be both dangerous and deadly. And when it comes to adults behind the wheel, accidents caused by distracted driving is a growing trend because teens aren’t the only ones to blame for using their cell phones while driving.
6 out of 10 accidents involve some kind of distraction” reports AAA Foundation.
Keep in mind that distracted driving is not limited to talking and texting on cell phones, though that is the largest culprit. Anything that distracts a driver from the road – eating, grooming, talking to passengers, navigation systems, changing the radio station – can be considered dangerous and distracting. Driving is a skill; it takes a person’s visual, manual and cognitive attention. Anything that takes a driver’s eyes, hands or mind away from the task of driving can slow reaction time, cause drivers to fail to identify hazards in the roadway or cause a driver to miss a stop sign or signal.
We all agree that distracted driving is dangerous, it is a no brainer. However, there is a very real disconnect between this knowledge and driver’s actual behavior. AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s 2014 Traffic Safety Culture Index found more than 25% of drivers admitted to typing or sending a text or email, even though almost 80% agreed that doing so is a very serious threat to safety, and 84% affirmed it is completely unacceptable under any circumstances.
Some tips to break this hazardous habit and potentially save lives:
- Use an app that let’s people know you are behind the wheel
- Turn off electronic devices and put them out of reach before starting the car
- Speak up when you are a passenger and your driver starts to text – offer to make the call or send a text for them
- Pull off the road and park the car if you MUST make a call or text
- Talk to your kids about distracted driving, show them video and create consequences if they text and drive
- Take NSC’s new demo Distracted Driving Online Course to learn more.
Please keep your attention on the road & help put an end to distracted driving today!
Once spring is in the air, we usually see potholes on the roads. Potholes develop when water seeps below the road surface, freezes and expands. This pushes the pavement upward while the traffic above further stresses the roadway. When the pavement thaws, it gradually falls into the hole and eventually traffic chips away and expands the pothole.
Potholes can grow to several feet in width, though they usually only develop to depths of a few inches. If they become large enough, damage to tires, wheels, and vehicle suspensions is liable to occur.
According to a AAA report, pothole season is costly. Pothole damage costs US drivers an estimated $3 billion annually in vehicle repairs. Most state and local Department of Transportation (DOT) have a pothole hotline or reporting system. Check the local or state DOT website to see how to report potholes.
When you see pothole repair crews, slow down and be extremely cautious near mobile work zones for your own safety and that of these very important road crews.
Just another friendly road safety tip from Adopt-A-Highway Litter Removal!
Secure your load – Road debris accidents and highway litter are all too common.
Items that fall off vehicles endanger other motorists not only because the debris may strike other vehicles, but also because motorists may have to swerve to avoid the debris. These situations also cause traffic jams.
Unsecured loads are responsible for 25,000 accidents annually, resulting in up to 100 deaths per year. In addition, it is estimated that unsecured loads cause up to 60% of roadside litter.
When hauling junk or your valuables, do it right with these tips:
Tie it down: use solid straps, rope, bungee cords or netting. Tie large items directly to your vehicle.
Bag it: All trash or recyclables should be in sturdy bags and covered by a strong tarp or cargo netting. If you throw trash into your truck bed, secure a 5-gallon bucket with a lid in a corner of the bed, as a trash can.
Layer it: Put lighter items on the bottom, place heavier items on top. Be sure not to overload – keep materials level with truck bed or trailer.
Cover it up: For loose or lightweight items, cover them up with a tarp or heavy plastic. Make sure the tarp is secured to the vehicle.
Check as you go: Consistently check your rear-view mirror to make sure you are not losing items as you go. If something becomes lose, pull over and secure again. If a large item falls off, notify police immediately.
Keep in mind that if you don’t properly secure your load you may be fined.
Save money, the environment and most importantly lives by properly securing your load!
Get Your Car Serviced NOW
We all want to put it off as long as possible, but have needed service completed prior to the 1st snow. Make sure to ask the mechanic to check fluids (coolant, oil, windshield wiper fluid) and battery, and use proper products for the weather in your area.
Check the Tires
Winter driving can be treacherous on wet, ice and snow covered roads. To be safe, make sure your tires have peak traction by checking tread (2/32 of an inch on ALL tires). Also, check tire pressure, which can decrease significantly in cold weather. Properly inflated tires provide optimal performance. Don’t forget to check your spare tire as well, nothing worse than a flat spare!
Be sure to check that your headlights, brake lights, turn signals, emergency flashers are all working properly. See and be seen – Turn on lights for greater visibility!
Wash & Wax
Winter is harsh on our car’s exteriors, a thorough washing and waxing will protect your car’s paint from corrosion caused by moisture and salt on the roads.
Check to make sure both front and back blades are working well. Switch to winter wiper blades to increase visibility if you get lots of ice and snow. Completely fill the wiper fluid reservoir before the 1st snow. Use winter wiper fluid with de-icer for best results.
During the winter months moisture can build up in your gas tank, causing corrosion. Keep your gas tank at least half full to absorb the moisture. This is also a good practice since winter driving may have unexpected delays and getting to a gas station may not be easy.
Always plug in when not in use to minimize drain on the battery. Also, be aware that cold weather requires the battery to work harder, so driving distance may decrease significantly.
Most important of all SLOW DOWN! The key to getting anywhere is to get there safely!
As always, Adopt-A-Highway requests you don’t litter – we don’t need any more hazard on the roadways this winter. Be Safe!
And many of these affected cars have yet to be repaired. In fact, the NHTSA estimates that a quarter of recalled vehicles are never fixed. There are about 60 million recalled vehicles on the road that have not been repaired, according to CarFax. Even though the repairs are free, many vehicle owners never get their cars fixed.
Some owners may not even know that their cars have been recalled. If a car was purchased from a dealer, a recall notice is sent via mail. However, many owners are no longer at the address, have since sold the car or just don’t pay attention.
Don’t let a vehicle recall on one of your cars slip through the cracks. These are significant safety issues, which need to be addressed. It is a good idea to check recalls yourself every year. NHTSA’s website recalls.gov or safecar.gov enables you to easily do that with the following tools:
- Check open recalls on your vehicle using the 17-digit VIN. Your VIN can be found on the registration card and on the vehicle dash. This tool tracks recalls for the past 15 years, so is especially helpful for used car owners.
- Search for vehicle recalls using the make, model and year of your car.
- Sign up for email alerts on the latest vehicle recalls.
The NHTSA is working on other proactive tools for recalls – apps and automatic alerts in the vehicle. Until then, and even after, put your safety in your own hands and occasionally check for recalls.
As summer draws to an end and the classroom bell rings in the new school year, 55 million children across the United States will be heading back to school. Of that total, AAA estimates that 13% of students walk or bike to school. Always in late August/September, road travel increases and traffic patterns shift, making this a dangerous time of year for both drivers and pedestrians. Here are some safety tips that parents can use to help get your kids safely to and from school:
- Practice the route with your children
- Teach them to always use the same route, no shortcuts
- Cross streets only at crosswalks, preferably with crossing guards
- Always use left-right-left rule when crossing the street
- Put away the cell phone – distracted walking/biking can be as dangerous as distracted driving
- Walk in a group
- Don’t wear headphones
- Bikers should obey traffic laws just like vehicles
- If riding a bike or scooter, always wear a helmet
- Younger children should be taught to walk bikes across the street
- And, always Adopt-A-Highway’s favorite tip – Don’t Litter
Every child deserves a safe route to school – we can all help by taking a little extra care and paying closer attention this time of year.
Is saving a few seconds of travel time worth the potentially deadly price of running a red light?
August 2-8th is National Stop on Red Week, which is a one week awareness campaign, sponsored by the National Coalition for Safer Roads (NCSR). This week provides an important chance to promote intersection safety. NCSR is partnering with organizations and communities all over the U.S. to raise awareness about the hundreds of unnecessary deaths and injuries that are the result of red light running accidents each year. Some sobering facts about red light running include:
- Nationwide, more than 3.7 million drivers ran a red light in 2014
- In 2013, 697 people were killed and an estimated 127,000 were injured in crashes that involved red light running
- Drivers most frequently run red lights in the afternoon, with 30% of all red light running violations in 2014 occurring between 1 pm – 5 pm
- Friday proved to be the worst day for intersection safety in 2014 – safety cameras caught 596,518 total red light running violations – while Sunday saw the fewest violations, with 473,695 total
- Memorial Day weekend was the highest ranked holiday travel period, with 37,800
- One in three Americans know someone who has been injured or killed as a result of somebody running a red light
- About half of the deaths in red light running crashes are pedestrians, bicyclists and occupants in other vehicles that are hit by the red light runners
Intersection safety is an extremely important aspect of road safety in every community. Safety is the responsibility of every driver, every day. Adopt-A-Highway Litter Removal is all about road safety and we are happy to spread NCSR’s message of “STOP on RED”! Really, is a few minutes’ worth the risk?
Are you tired? Did you realize that being tired on the roads can impact your driving ability? Sleep deprivation and fatigue make lapses of attention more likely to occur, and can play a major role in behavior that leads to crashes. Drowsy driviny is dangerous to you and others on the road. In fact, being awake for 18 hours is equal to a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08%, the equivalent to being legally drunk. Research has identified young males, shift workers, commercial drivers and people with untreated sleep disorders or with short-term or chronic sleep deprivation as being at the highest risk for a fall-asleep crash. According to the National Sleep Foundation’s Sleep in America poll, 60% of Americans have driven while feeling sleepy and 37% admit to actually having fallen asleep at the wheel in the past year. Are you at risk? Some simple suggestions before “hitting the road”:
- Get adequate sleep—most adults need 7-9 hours to maintain proper alertness during the day
- On long drives, schedule proper breaks—about every 100 miles or 2 hours during long trips
- Arrange for a travel buddy—someone to talk with and share the driving
- Avoid alcohol and sedating medications—check your labels or ask your doctor
Adopt-A-Highway helps keep America’s highways clean, please everybody promise to get some rest!
Distracted Driving is a term that is now used a lot! Why? Because it is deadly and because we are parents of teens! Distracted Driving is broader than just texting when driving, it is:
Any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving. All distractions endanger driver, passenger, and bystander safety.
- Using a cell phone or smartphone
- Eating and drinking
- Talking to passengers
- Reading, including maps
- Using a navigation system
- Watching a video
- Adjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player
The reason text messaging gets so much attention is that it requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention, making texting by far the most deadly distraction. Here are a few statistics that should scare all of us:
- An estimated 10% of drivers less than 20 years old involved in fatal crashes were reported as “distracted” at the time of the accident.
- Drivers in their 20s are responsible for about 27% of the distracted drivers in fatal crashes.
- Five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road when texting. If traveling at 55mph, that is driving 100 yards or the length of a football field with your eyes closed or blindfolded.
Currently, 46 states as well as D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands ban text messaging for all drivers. Of the 4 states without an all driver texting ban, 2 prohibit text messaging by novice drivers and one restricts school bus drivers from texting. For information on your state’s distracted driving laws go to distraction.gov
At Adopt-A-Highway we are all about road safety! In our Blogs we hope to inform you on ways to stay safe behind the wheel and provide information that can be shared with your friends, kids and other family members to keep them safe as well. We hope that it is useful and that when you are out on the roadways you will support those that support us – our incredible Sponsor-A-Highway sponsors!