During the month of March, for no particular reason, I will be putting up posts and updating the blog with random but important facts about Car Safety. This includes information such as what the leading causes of wrecks are, or what you can do to stay safe while driving. The goal by the end of the month is to make you, the readers, more aware of the events around you that may cause a car accident, and make you conscious about the decisions you make or see around you while driving. Maybe you get a text, but remember these posts and decide to wait until you've stopped, potentially saving a life. Executive Edge cares about the safety of our clients and friends, and we aim to make the trip to work a safer drive than it was yesterday.
March 2, 2017 - Road Rage
This one struck me as surprising. My belief was that it would be one of the LOWEST causes of accidents in the US. However, I found myself wrong. My logic was that it would be low due to the driver being aware that he was going to drive a little reckless to retaliate against the other driver, therefore being careful while recklessly driving. Doesn’t make much sense does it? If you do something wrong while knowing it is wrong, you will generally be more careful while doing it. However, if you don’t know that it is wrong or think of it as unimportant, you will take less precautions and get caught more easily than if you were careful. This apparently is not the case with road rage, as a large percentage of driver error wrecks were caused by road raging. Per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 94% of all traffic accidents are caused by error of the drivers. Out of that 94%, road rage causes approximately 33% of it.
Some claims I have found online consisted of, “He took my parking spot!” or, “He looked at me funny while he drove past me.” Well, that’s a little ridiculous. Not so much that those were the reasons, but that people put it on their claims! You have to respect the honesty I suppose, but not so much respect the fact that they put people’s lives in danger because of two parallel lines and a silly face.
I found the road rage statistic so interesting, that I wanted to delve a little deeper and find out what the leading cause of road rage is. I wasn’t disappointed, because surprise surprise! It’s… Tailgating and sudden braking with a whopping 39%. Who would’ve guessed, right? I can only guess that the two fit together, because if someone brakes because of being tailgated, that’s a road rage that says, “Get off my bumper.” Accident waiting to happen.
So why is road rage so common? 33% is a lot of raging drivers, and that’s only the percentage of those who have wrecked! One that makes a lot of sense to me was stated by Dr. Leon James, a professor of psychology at the University of Hawaii, who says, “Drivers grow up being socialized into a highway of hostility rather than mutual support and peace. The back seat of the car is what I call road rage nursery. From childhood in the car and television, we are prepared for competitive, hard-nosed driving.” Well that makes sense to me. So on top of road raging and endangering those around you, it also teaches the children in the passenger’s seat that this is okay to do, and that they will have to deal with it someday as well. They grow up expecting an aggressive road ahead of them.
My own personal experience of road rage is when I was stopped in a 99c store parking lot. A family was waiting to cross and so I stopped at the crosswalk so that they could pass. Well, the fellow behind me was not so happy that he had to wait 7 seconds for a family to cross. His window was rolled down and I could hear him complaining behind me, waving his arm like a lunatic. He decided it would be more efficient to rev his engine, drive by my car, cut the family off and stop FIFTEEN yards in front of me to drop off his buddy at the store. That’s example number one of dangerous road raging. Example number two is my retaliation. It had been raining for a few days, and there was a perfectly placed puddle to the left of this man’s rolled down window. Oh… Surely this is fate. This is my moment. My first road rage. The amazing stunts I have seen pulled from the passenger’s seat due to road rage, and now I could try one that I hadn’t seen done. This was it. I waited for the family to cross, made sure the area was clear of any pedestrians, and quickly blitzed towards the puddle, hitting it with my right tire and sending a current of oily cloud tears into the man’s window. I slowed down to admire my handiwork to witness the man banging his fist against his steering wheel and flipping me off before speeding into the parking lot. My work was done. It seems awesome, but looking back, it was incredibly stupid of me. Speeding down a parking lot in front of a busy store just to splash some water on a grown man? No matter how careful, I could have always missed someone walking on the other side of the man’s car that I could have hit while going by. No matter the reason or “justification” for it, it was not a smart decision.
If you have any road rage experiences that you’d like to share on the blog, e-mail them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to post some more on here so that people can learn the experiences or mistakes that others have witnessed or made. If you see a car stopped in front of you, it may be for good reason, so just don’t speed by to pass it, right?
March 6, 2017 - Reckless Driving
Stats: The comprehensive cost for accident fatalities caused by alcohol or drug impairment is $201.1 billion. For speeding? $203.2 billion. That’s already $404.3 billion for just two forms of reckless driving. Not using turn signals causes nearly 2 million accidents a year, and US drivers alone neglect using a turn signal on average 750 Billion times a year. 750 Billion. With a B.
Reckless driving is a broad term. It can be pretty much anything that can potentially cause an accident such as:
-Driving while distracted
-Driving while impaired by drugs, alcohol etc…
-Driving without headlights
-Running red lights or stop signs
-Not turning properly
-Tailgating (number one cause for road rages).
So pretty much anything is reckless driving. If it’s illegal, it is reckless. Even “causing an accident” is listed under reckless driving. You don’t say?
Teenagers are the most common to reckless drive. Without a parent in the car, a teen will have a higher chance of speeding (reckless), won’t often use turn signals (reckless), won’t obey the rules of the road (reckless), will make improper turns (reckless), and a large majority play their music too loud which can be a distraction to themselves (reck- you get the point). Probably just a maturity thing? That’d be a fun one to blog about later.
Alcohol and drugs! Need I say more? Probably not, but I’m going to. If you are impaired by anything, including alcohol, marijuana, any form of drug really, then you shouldn’t drive at all. If you do, contact us and we’ll file a claim in advance for you. No, not really. Interesting fact, if you get charged with a DUI or a DWI, they are separate crimes from reckless driving. Meaning, that you can get charged with both! Meaning that you hit one bar too many before driving so now you’re stuck behind them.
Speeding alone can also get you not only a speeding ticket, but also a reckless driving charge. This doesn’t happen often, but if the officer believes that the surrounding factors are enough (pedestrians, time of day, traffic, weather, etc…), then you may find yourself with both speeding and reckless driving.
Any stories on reckless driving you would like to share? E-mail me at email@example.com if you would like me to share them on the blog to help make people aware of common mistakes and causes of accidents that they may learn to avoid in the future.
March 7, 2017 - Wrong Way Driving
Don’t ask me how this gif happened. Just appreciate that it is a gif for us to watch. What is even more interesting than this backwards car? The fact that wrong way accidents are one of the leading causes of car accidents in the U.S.
Out of the accidents caused by wrong way driving in the United States, 15% involve someone of the age 70 or older. It is possible to get confused in busy traffic or urban areas. Merging onto highways and taking the wrong exit is entirely possible. Luckily, it shouldn’t be too hard to quickly find out that you have made the mistake when you see a diesel, a minivan, and a sedan coming towards you at 65mph. A nicer warning would be nice. Such as that fluffy cloud that smiles at you with a “Wrong Way” sign in Mario Kart.
A statistic that should come off as too much of a surprise? Drunk drivers are “responsible” for 60% of the wrong way accidents that occur in the U.S. Crazy how we always come back to the subject of drunk driving in this blog. Guarantee you it won’t be the last. Don’t drink and drive, and don’t allow it to happen around you.
So what are the three common ways that many find themselves looking towards the oncoming traffic? They aren’t too bad, just small mistakes that could turn into a big one.
-Getting on the wrong freeway ramp: It apparently happens more than you think, as it is one of the more common mistakes that lead to wrong way driving.
-Turning onto a one-way street: I’ve seen this one the most personally. It is not a hard mistake to make, as it can look like a normal neighborhood road. Or in the case of an urban setting, many roads are designed for one-way heavy traffic. So one might end up making a wrong turn thinking that on the other side of that traffic is a lane going in the other direction.
-Ignoring signs on the side of the road: While you can relate this to the other reasons, the main cause of wrong way driving is drivers just not paying attention to the signs on the side of the road. Whether they are wrong way signs, sharp turn signs, slow down, bridge, slippery, etc.… People tend to ignore these signs, which not only leads to wrong way driving, but to many of the accidents that happen every day.
The easiest way to avoid these is to drive responsibly, alcohol free, and by paying attention to the signs put up for our safety.
Any stories on wrong way driving you would like to share? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like me to share them on the blog to help make people aware of common mistakes and causes of accidents that they may learn to avoid in the future.
March 10, 2017 - Unsafe Lane Changes
I’m not totally convinced that this isn’t number one on the list of accident causes. I thought it should be. I can’t tell you how many times I have been cut off by someone who didn’t use their blinker, or merged into me. I even got into an accident once because someone changed quickly into my lane without using their blinker. Fortunately for me, I was driving a truck. Unfortunately for the other driver, they were driving a car. Afterwards they were driving a car with no front bumper and the engine sticking out while I was left with a dent in the side of my truck.
Many times, these accidents are caused by getting too comfortable while driving. They don’t feel a need to look over their shoulder, or check their blinker, or check their mirror. Maybe they do one only one of those before moving. Perhaps they did check all three, and moved into the lane believing they had room, forcing the car behind them to quickly stop and cause a collision with oncoming traffic. Changing lanes too quickly and not giving the car behind them a chance to react. Two people changing into the same lane on a 3-lane highway and meeting in the middle. There are several scenarios in which this can happen, and it is a very common cause of accidents in the U.S.
-Preventing this sort of accident is just being aware of the happenings around your vehicle. Check your mirrors install blind proof mirrors, etc…
-Don’t change lanes quickly in heavy traffic or rain. Always use your blinkers. Change only one lane at a time, which a lot of people will just skip lanes if they don’t see too much traffic.
-A big one is to stay at a constant speed while changing lanes. If you speed up or slow down, then it is harder for the traffic around you to adjust based on our lane change. If you change lanes and slow down, then the cars behind you will also have to slow down. Just being aware of the situation around you can prevent several causes of accidents, and this one is no different.