The National Institutes of Health is spending over $170,000
studying how to crack down on distracted pedestrians looking at their phones when
crossing the street by sending people warning messages on their phones to look
at while they cross the street.
The study, being conducted by the University of Alabama at
Birmingham, also involves tracking what college students are doing on their
smartphones when they are near an intersection.
Researchers said an uptick in pedestrian deaths is likely
linked to increased cell phone use. The proposed solution is sending an alert
to the pedestrian’s phone, which would then prompt them to look at the phone just
as they are about to cross a busy intersection.
“Unlike most medical conditions, the pedestrian injury
rate is currently increasing in the United States,” according to the grant for
the project. “This project will study the efficacy of an intervention to
reduce distracted pedestrian behavior using smartphone technology.”
“Over 4,800 American pedestrians die annually, a figure
that is currently increasing,” the grant states. “One hypothesized
reason for the increasing trend in pedestrian injuries and deaths is the role
of mobile technology in distracting both pedestrians and drivers. Existing
behavioral interventions to reduce distracted pedestrian behavior are few.”
“We propose to develop and then evaluate Bluetooth beacon
technology as a means to alert and warn pedestrians when they are approaching
dangerous intersections, reminding them to attend to the traffic environment
and cross the street safely rather than engaging with mobile technology,”
the grant explains.
Bluetooth technology will be placed at intersection corners
that will send college students an alert through an app, with a message, sound,
or vibrating warning. The app might also freeze a user’s cell phone screen when
crossing the street.
For research purposes, the app also will download data concerning the users’ behavior while crossing the street,” the grant states, including if a user stops using their phone, puts it in their pocket, or leaves music on.
Want to make the roads safer, while protecting you, your loved ones and your car? Take the first step by honing your defensive driving skills. These tips can help you become more fully engaged in your journeys and stay safe behind the wheel.
Keep Looking Ahead
Be sure to look as far ahead as you are able. All too frequently when people are behind the wheel, they are only concerned the direct area in front of them. While the first few feet in front of your car is its own type of danger zone, especially if there is a hazard of any kind on the road, looking ahead and around is also important. This will allow you ample response time for anything that is coming your way.
Scan the horizon and continuously check your mirrors. Your eyes should always be moving and taking in as much information as possible. For example, if you notice that the car in front of you is slowing down, start braking. If you are fixated only on the car in front of you, you might not notice another car coming into your lane, which could result in an accident.
Alert and Take Breaks if Needed
Take your required breaks and avoid drowsy
driving. Drowsiness can lead to dangerous driving behavior like drifting out of
your lane, not braking when needed, and crashing.
Keeping your eyes up means keeping them off devices and distractions in the vehicle. Driver distraction doubled the risk of having a vehicle collision according to research from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI). They identified some of the riskiest distractions as using a cell phone, reading and writing, reaching, using a touchscreen, as well as being fatigued, emotional, and interacting with another passenger in the vehicle.
Another VTTI study of commercial vehicle operations showed
that texting and driving “raises a heavy-truck driver’s risk of a
safety-critical event by 23 times.”
Locking away the phone and keeping objects out of the front seat to avoid temptation are just two ways to minimize distraction and increase overall safety.
Be Prepared for Anything
Being prepared means taking note of the
weather or road conditions and then driving to the conditions. Driving at the
posted speed limit may be fine in sunny weather, but if it’s snowing or raining
hard, that same speed will be too fast. Preparedness also means watching the
traffic and being ready to adjust your driving. Don’t forget to check the areas
along the road and up onto the sidewalks, in case a pedestrian or animal might
cross your path.
Just like having a emergency plan at home, you
should always have a plan for emergencies while driving. Having an idea of how
you will react in possible situations and preparing for them in advance, will
help you to avoid potentially life threatening situations. Having an escape
plan can be as simple as making sure that you always have space around your
vehicle in case you need to swerve to avoid some type of hazard. The more
prepared you are before the emergency, the more likely it will be that you will
Space and Keep Your Distance
Although there are some
things about driving you can’t control, you can control the distance between
you and the next car in front of you. This is unique because you do not have
this ability with any other side of your vehicle. Because this is the only
distance that you can control, you should be aware of how closely you are
following the vehicle in front of you. Also, beware of driving in a pack.
It’s a fact that trucks need a lot more time and
space to stop. A passenger vehicle weighing 4,000 lbs and driving 65 mph takes
316 ft to stop. A tractor-trailer weighing 80,000 lbs, driving at 65 mph, will
take 525 ft to stop — that’s equivalent to the length of two football fields!
To ensure that you maintain the best following
distance, you will want to take certain factors into account:
the type of vehicle in front of you,
and the weather conditions.
For example, a small motorcycle will be able to stop much faster than a larger vehicle, so you want to be sure to leave more distance. How fast are you traveling? If you are traveling at 100 mph, it will take much more time and distance to stop than if you were traveling at 25 mph. If the roads are wet from rain or icy from a recent snow, you will need to keep more space between your truck and other the vehicle. You always want to be sure that there is enough room in front of you to stop, regardless of the conditions, to avoid a collision.
Whether you’re exploring the countryside with your best pal or merely driving your kids to school, your car can be a gateway to lots of memorable moments. These simple precautions can help ensure you enjoy the ride — as well as the destination.
In this country the general population of
drivers and their skill levels consists of the following:
Average drivers 70%
Great drivers 25%
Death wish drivers 5%
With these thoughts, if you are that 25% of
great drivers and you are comfortable with the idea of teaching your teen to
drive, then go ahead and do a great job. On the other hand, if you have been
driving them around for 15 years while speeding, talking on the phone, tailgating
and rolling through stop signs, do you really think it’s a good idea for you to
teach your child to drive?
Teens are involved in traffic crashes for
specific reasons. I hear parents say that their teen has had a few minor fender
benders and that’s part of learning to drive. What that really indicates, is that
it is just a matter of time before they are seriously injured or hurt someone
Driving is a learned experience, but the truth
is that the initial learning experience is critical in how young drivers
develop into great drivers. Teaching your teen is one of the most critical
parts of protecting your teens future, most decisions they make will not alter
or end their life-think about it.
When you examine car crashes, you must understand one thing, they just don’t happen. Driving skills are becoming less important as we head to more and more ridiculous safety features. If you want to decrease traffic crashes, take the millions invested in driverless cars and put that money into creating better drivers.
Driving is a skill that is learned and must be practiced constantly behind the wheel. The issue regarding driver education is that if your taught to drive by a fool-now we have 2 fools on the road.
Driving must be taught by the great drivers of the world, which by the way is only 25% of the driving population. They didn’t become great by accident. They were taught by someone with great driving skills and they put that education into practice. When you’re driving, you must be aware of everything that is always going on around you, not just occasionally, but all the time. If I had to pick one thing that I could instill in new drivers, it would be to focus on the big picture of driving.
What are drivers doing that are behind you, alongside you and coming head on towards you? That’s what will make the difference in that decision that will save your life. Remember cars that are approaching you at 60 mph, are traveling at almost 90 feet per second. You are traveling at 90 feet per second, so you are closing at 180 feet per second. If you are talking on the phone or worse texting, you will cross the center line or run the red light and it will happen in a split second.
Drive like everyone else’s life depends on your actions, because the truth of the matter is that most head on collision are nothing more than not paying attention to your driving. It’s no different than if you took a gun and killed someone. You have no right and the reality is that it’s all avoidable if we increase our driving skills. Be that GREAT DRIVER!
Here at the American Safety Institute we want you to be as
safe on the road as possible. There’s a lot that happens during driving that is
outside our control and the mechanical conditions of your car can be one.
Sometimes there are issues with our vehicles that we are unaware of. If you
bought your car from a major dealer, they will probably alert you of any
recalls or updates. Older vehicles or those bought from a used car lot can’t
count on the same notifications. Sometimes you have to do your own homework.
Two of our favorite and accredited websites have pages dedicated to informing the public of any safety issues and recalls. Make sure your car doesn’t have an issue that the manufacturer will pay to have fixed, but moreover could cause you serious problems if not addressed.
Two of our favorite and accredited websites have pages
dedicated to informing the public of any safety issues and recalls. Make sure
your car doesn’t have an issue that the manufacturer will pay to have fixed,
but moreover could cause you serious problems if not addressed.
Older Americans today are healthier and more active than
ever before. The aging baby boomer generation is the fastest-growing
demographic in the U.S. By 2030, there will be more than 70 million people age
65 and older, and approximately 85-90 percent of them will be licensed to
drive. In fact, seniors are outliving their ability to drive safely by an
average of 7-10 years and for the first time in history, we must plan for our
“driving retirement” just as we plan for our financial retirement.
Senior drivers are among the safest drivers on the road and
often reduce their risk of injury by wearing safety belts, not drinking and
driving and by observing speed limits; however, seniors are more likely to be
injured or killed in a crash due to age-related fragility. With the exception
of teenagers, seniors have the highest crash death rate per mile driven. As we
age, our ability to drive safely is affected by natural changes to our bodies
In recognition of these changing demographics, AAA launched
“Lifelong Safe Mobility.” This association-wide priority initiative is
dedicated to keeping seniors safe and mobile and driving as long as safely
possible. Senior safety and mobility is a quality of life issue. By working to
protect and promote it, you can help maintain confidence and independence among
seniors, and foster a society where older adults can live to their full
Good maintenance can keep
your vehicle on the road for years to come — and keep you safer on the road.
Many drivers think maintenance equals oil changes. In fact, most people change
oil more often than they need to but don’t rotate their tires as frequently as
they should. Proper rotation can add as much as 10,000 miles to the life of a
set of tires. There’s more you can do to keep your vehicle operating reliably:
Keep maintenance records. They can serve as good
diagnostic tools and proof you have cared for your vehicle, which can enhance
its trade-in or resale value.
Run your engine for a few minutes before
powering up the heater, air conditioner, wipers and other accessories.
Accelerating with a cold engine can cause premature engine failure.
If your vehicle has fuel injection, keep the
tank at least one-quarter full. Cornering with a nearly empty tank disrupts the
flow to the fuel pump.
Look for cracks or looseness in engine belts.
Broken belts are a major reason for roadside breakdowns.
Use an approved repair facility for repairs and
Your driving habits have a direct impact on your car’s fuel
consumption. Planning your travel, following speed limits, maintaining safe
following distances and paying attention to traffic, weather and road conditions
will keep you safer, allow your vehicle to operate more efficiently, and
ultimately, save you money.
Here are a few ways you can improve your driving to get
better gas mileage:
Accelerate gradually. Avoid jackrabbit starts.
Anticipate your stops. When approaching a red
light, let your foot off the gas as early as possible.
In summer, drive during cooler parts of the day.
Cooler, denser air can boost power and mileage.
Avoid long warm-ups in the morning. They’re
unnecessary and waste fuel.
Use air conditioning. Today’s air conditioners
create less drag on the engine than driving with the windows open.
Maintain recommended tire pressure. Low pressure
reduces fuel economy and can damage tires.
Keep the air filter clean. Clogged filters
reduce fuel economy and increase exhaust emissions.
On August 21, 2017, millions across
the U.S. witnessed an awe-inspiring total solar eclipse. While
the excitement surrounding them is understandable, and as a reminder,
eclipse-seekers should map out their viewing location in advance, and to be
safely off the roadways while gazing at the skies.
When will we see the next one?
The next total eclipse for North America will come on April 8, 2024. That makes it seem as if eclipses are rare, when, in fact,
they’re not. They happen about every 18 months as seen from somewhere in
the world. However, for any given spot on Earth’s surface, total solar eclipses
don’t happen very often.
ASI also offers the following tips for drivers during the 2024
Do not attempt to watch the eclipse while
driving. Exit the roadway and park in a safe area away from traffic. The peak
darkness phase will last just 2-3 minutes.
According to NASA, you should avoid looking
directly at the sun without proper eye protection. The only safe way to look at
the uneclipsed sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as “eclipse
glasses” or hand-held solar viewers.
Drive safely. Eagerness to view the event is
not an acceptable reason to drive aggressively or while distracted.
Drive with your headlights on. Not only will
you be more visible to other drivers, your forward vision will be improved.
Watch out for pedestrians. There may be people
standing in or along the roadway watching the eclipse.
Be on the alert for distracted drivers.
Other drivers may attempt to watch the eclipse
and drive at the same time.
Keep additional space between you and other
Reduce your speed so you have more time to
make an emergency maneuver, if needed
Just after sunrise and before sunset the sun can shine
directly into drivers’ eyes, leaving many motorists driving with a glare. This
glare can make it much harder to see the road ahead and potential hazards
creating an added risk to drivers. When sun glare is an issue slow down and use
extra caution especially while driving through school zones.
So how can you protect yourself? Here are some tips for
motorists when driving into the sun:
Invest in polarized sunglasses – they can help
Utilize your sun visor – it can help to block
out the sun.
Leave more following room – when the sun is in
your eyes it can be hard to see what the car ahead is doing. This is one more
time when it pays to leave more room between you and the next vehicle.
Drive with your headlights on to increase your
visibility to other drivers
Keep your windshield clean, inside and out
Check your windshield for pitting and cracks
Avoid storing papers or other items on the
If having a difficult time seeing the road, use
lane markings to help guide you.
Rarely will visibility be absolutely perfect while driving,
but if motorists know this and make the proper adjustments, you can minimize
any additional risks that come with less-than-optimal visual conditions.