Making Your Car Safer & Reducing the Chance of Car-Accident Injury! PART II

By Dr. Scott Rosenthal

PART II

Imagine your neighbor’s house is being renovated. 30 feet from your living room window you notice the mirrored sunglass-wearing crane operator swinging a wrecking ball. Suddenly, with the 2500 pound sphere of destruction in mid-flight, his cell phone rings. Distracted, he continues to chat to his mate on his wireless appendage while navigating the ball just outside your baby’s nursery. Sounds dangerous, risky or just insane? Fasten your seat belts… most people wield 4000 pounds of steel perched on four tires with the same distractions everyday! Perhaps the greatest risk of car accidents arises from the actions or inactions of a distracted driver?

According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, as many as 56 percent of all fatal crashes may have been caused by driver distraction.

This one is going to hurt all of you who must stay connected! According to research comparing drivers without distractions to those using a cell phone, there was a 50% reduction in brain scans activity during phone use. Although two hands on the wheel are better than one when a quick maneuver is necessary, little evidence finds significant differences between the levels of distraction during handheld cell phone use and being hands-free.

If the cell phone is one bullet in the chamber of accident roulette, text messaging while driving is like taking your chances with an Uzi. One study performed at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that text messaging while driving caused an increase in crash and near-crash risk by greater than 20 times.

Eating behind the wheel is another dangerous distraction. It is better to keep driving with a closed bag after driving through the drive-through window. Just think about the automatic reactions and diversion of your attention when hot java or ketchup from a burger hits your lap.

Just to add to your tank of knowledge below is a key list of important safety considerations not mentioned earlier in this article or Part I:

  • If your windshield wipers are on, turn your lights on.
  • Apply the make-up in your parking space.
  • Leave the sippy cup or pacifier on the floor until you can safely retrieve it/them.
  • Save your rage for Monday night football.
  • Don’t’ get caught a little flat on the highway- maintain proper air pressure in your tires.
  • Retire your tires before they go on strike.
  • Slow down and take it easy!

Hopefully, you were not distracted and were able to finish this short article? If so, please

References:

http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/pubs/811216.pdf

http://www.womenshealthmag.com/health/driving-accidents

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