Preparing for the 100 Deadliest Days of Summer

100 Deadliest Days to Drive

Memorial Day is the unofficial start of picnics, vacations, swimming, and deadly accidents. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, there are an increased number of car crashes. From 2012 to 2017, there were more than 5,000 deaths during this time frame. Let’s look at the five most common reasons behind crashes and ways that you can stay safe.

  1. Be Aware of Increased Traffic

The main reason for the 100 deadliest days is that there are more drivers on the road. Memorial Day is usually the time that school lets out and there are more teen drivers on the road. Teen drivers are less experienced and usually dealing with a lot of distractions. Teens aren’t the only drivers on the road though. More individuals and families are heading out to enjoy the weather, attend popular summertime events, and going on vacations. With more drivers on the road, the more likely it is that there will be collisions.

  1. No Impaired and Drowsy Driving

Long road trips, big parties, and holiday celebrations lead a lot of people to drive while impaired in some way. Whether it is alcohol, drugs, or driving drowsy, people are getting behind the wheel of a car unable to drive safely. If you find yourself in any of these situations, don’t rationalize that you are good enough to drive. Instead, find a friend to be your designated driver or call a ride share or taxi service. It’s never worth putting your life and those around you at risk.

  1. Don’t Forget to Buckle Up

When the sun is really hot, it’s not comfortable to buckle up. Don’t wait until they cool off. Don’t worry about being too wet or that you’re close enough to home that you neglect it either. If you are driving, you are responsible for making sure everyone in your car has a seat belt and is wearing it. Even minor collisions can have fatal results when proper restraints aren’t used.

  1. Watch Your Speed

Driving too fast is a common cause for car crashes. With dry roads, clear skies, and fun things to do, drivers tend to drive a little more recklessly. Combine this reason with more drivers on the road and it is a recipe for disaster. The most common reason for speeding is because you’re late or have some sort of road rage. Plan and make sure you leave on time, giving yourself a buffer for bad traffic. With more people out driving and pedestrians out walking, it is important that you don’t speed so that everyone can stay safe. If you ever find yourself in a situation where another driver wants to race, don’t do it. It is illegal and dangerous.

  1. Avoid Distracted Driving

Texting and driving is the most common distraction for drivers. Don’t mess with your phone in any way while operating a vehicle. Pull off the road and out of traffic if you must enter an address, take a call, or send a text. Even looking down for a few seconds can cause fatal results.

Motorcycles and Awareness: A Driving Guide for Everyone on the Road

Motorcycles and AwarnessWhether you are driving a motorcycle or driving around them, it is important to brush up on your safety
skills. While most drivers are comfortable around other cars on the road, there are behaviors that are
dangerous to motorcyclists around them. Here are five tips for drivers with four wheels and those with
two.
Safety Tips for Vehicle Drivers
1. Check your blind spots. Whenever you are changing lanes, it’s vital to check your blind spots.
The different rear view mirrors can miss drivers that fall in the blind area, so checking over your
shoulder is a good habit to get into. A quick glance doesn’t always cut it though. Motorcycles are
smaller than other vehicles, making the blind spot bigger and harder to spot them. Be aware and
check around you more carefully.
2. Give them space. Motorcycles are easier to maneuver and only require small movements to
change lanes. When a motorcycle is on the road around you, give them space because they can
make a movement very fast and you might not be ready for it.
3. Control your rage. If a motorcyclist cuts you off or does something else to make you angry,
don’t tailgate, swerve toward, or make aggressive movements toward them. One small bump
and you could end that driver’s life.
4. Approach intersections carefully. Most drivers are not aware that intersections are danger hot
spots for bikers. People are not accustomed to looking for motorcyclists when turning left, often
turning into a motorcyclist when they thought the gap between cars was empty. Turning any
direction with a motorcyclist near is dangerous if other drivers aren’t watching carefully.
5. Don’t drive while drunk. Driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or fatigue is dangerous,
but it’s especially dangerous around motorcycles. Since they have faster movements and an
impaired driver has slower reaction times, the results are more fatal for the motorcyclist.
Impaired driving is hazardous to everyone, so just don’t do it.
Safety Tips for Motorcyclists
1. Signal carefully. Drivers around you are not used to seeing the fast moves you can make when
changing lanes. It’s important that you signal for a few seconds before making a movement so
that everyone around you knows where you are going. Swerving in and out of traffic without
signaling is a recipe for disaster.
2. Watch the weather. Small weather storms can create a dangerous roadway if you’re out on
your motorcycle. Driving through puddles, slippery roads, and high winds can easily cause a
driver to crash. If the weather is bad and you can’t avoid driving on your motorcycle, drive
slower and use extra caution.
3. Avoid driving when its dark. Motorcycles are already hard to spot on the road, but add in a dark
bike, dark surroundings, and a driver wearing dark clothes and the small lights just aren’t
effective. If possible, avoid driving when it’s dark. Always drive defensively, remembering that
others can’t see you very well.
4. Always wear a helmet. Protective gear can make all the difference between life and death when
you ride a motorcycle. Always wear a helmet to keep your visibility good and protect your head
in case of an accident. Also wear leather clothing to help protect your skin from road rash during
an accident.

5. Don’t drive while drunk. While it’s dangerous for any driver to operate a car while drunk or
under the influence of drugs, it is even more dangerous for motorcyclists. Don’t ever drive your
bike if you are impaired in any way. One wrong move or jerky movement and you may not live
to tell the tale.

3 Common Reasons for Car Crashes and What You Can Do to Avoid Them

3 Common Reasons for Car Crashes

With hundred of thousands of cars on the road, the chances of getting in a car accident are very high. Most of the causes for car crashes are preventable, which makes getting in one even more frustrating. Here are three common causes for car crashes and what you can do to avoid them in the future.

  1. Improper Maneuvers. Part of getting a driver’s license is a test, requiring students to know all the basic driving laws. After the test is done, a lot of drivers forget what is required during certain maneuvers. Some of the biggest problems are unsafe lane changes, forgetting right-of-way rules, and improper turns. The laws are made to make travel efficient and decrease confusion, while keeping everyone safe.

How to Avoid an Accident: Review the laws from time to time. Make sure you know what is legal and what isn’t. Also, pay attention to the drivers around you. If someone else goes before it is their turn, don’t be so stubborn that you go anyway. It’s more important to be safe and get to your destination safely.

  1. Impaired Driving. Driving requires a clear mind and good control of your car. If you ever operate the vehicle with anything in your body that decreases your ability to be safe. It’s important that you avoid ever driving if you have been:
  • Drinking
  • Doing drugs
  • Taking certain medications

Another way that many drivers are impaired without realizing it is fatigue. This makes you just as fuzzy and prevents clear thinking just as much as drunk driving. These all slow down your reaction time, which is dangerous for switching lanes, if you have someone cut you off, or someone stops quickly in front of you. This makes you a danger on the road to everyone around you.

How to Avoid an Accident: Arrange to have someone else drive if you know that you will be drinking or doing drugs. Carefully review side effects of medications. Be well rested and prepared with caffeine, planned stops, music, or something to keep you awake for the entire distance. Don’t ever rationalize that you’re okay to drive in any of these situations. Call a cab, make other plans, or pull off the road to sleep or switch drivers.

  1. Distracted Driving. One of the leading causes of accidents right now is distracted driving. It comes in many different forms. The distraction that is getting the most press right now is texting while driving. This is certainly very dangerous, but it is not the only thing distracting drivers. Some other common examples are:
  • Talking on the phone
  • Applying make up
  • Rowdy friends and kids as passengers
  • Searching for something dropped
  • Eating and drinking
  • Messing with the radio, sound system, or movie system.
  • Multi-tasking of any kind
  • Looking at maps

There are all kinds of distractions that take a driver’s eyes off the road and they are all dangerous. Taking your eyes away for even a few seconds can allow you to drive hundred of feet without paying attention. So much is happening in any given situation that you can easily miss someone turning in front of you, braking, or a pedestrian stepping in the road.

How to Avoid an Accident: Put the devices away, limit phone conversations, and pull off the road if you need to do anything that prevents you from giving driving your full attention.

A Survival Guide for Parents with a Teen Driver

A Parent's Survival Guide to Teen DrivingMost states require a licensed driver or parent to ride passenger with their student driver for a certain number of hours. This helps the student to get practice on the road with some responsible supervision. If you are a parent, you will spend many of these hours in the car with your student, so here is a little survival guide for you.

  1. Start out slow. The last thing you want to do for your new driver is scare them (or you as the parent) too much. Even if your driver feels ready to jump right in to busy roads, it’s not a good idea. Start working on basics in a parking lot and move to neighborhood streets. After a bit of practice, try moving to slightly busier roads. Stick to familiar roads for the both of you. That way, you can know what to expect. As your teenager becomes more experienced, move to busy roads and eventually the freeway.
  2. Practice commentary driving. When you are out driving together, have your teen explain what they see. Some examples might be:
  • “We are approaching a stop light that is turning yellow, I’m preparing to stop”
  • “a child on a bike is coming up to the crosswalk, I’m going to slow down”
  • “The car in front of me is braking, I’m slowing down”

While it won’t help you completely relax, it can help you know that they are paying attention to their surroundings. It also provides opportunities for you to teach your teen what they should be watching for while driving.

  1. Put your phone to use. Part of the reason you come along is to help teach your teen, right? If you have your phone handy, you can test their restraint by texting them every so often to see if they stay focused on the road. Use this as a teaching moment if they reach for their phone. Remind them how important it is to not use their phones even at stop signs and red lights. They should pull off the road and out of traffic if they need to use their phone.
  2. Post a sign on the bumper. Bumper stickers and/or magnets that say “Caution: New Driver” or “Student Driver, please be patient” are available to purchase online and in some local stores. You can also make your own using some paper and a magic marker. This helps other drivers be aware that your teen is still learning, and they should be patient and give them a little extra space.

Behind every great driver is a parent who put in the hours and sweat to teach them. Make sure you buy yourself a reward, even if it’s a pack of gold stickers. It’s a big accomplishment for your teenager to get their driver’s license, but it’s also a big step for you too. Driver’s education teachers rely on parents to reinforce what students learn in class. These parent survival tips will help you be prepared for some common situations parent-passengers experience.

 

5 Tips for Driving in the Fog

5 tips for Driving in the Fog | 911 Driving School

Driving in the fog can be a dangerous venture, even for veteran drivers. Most drivers will turn down the music and tell passengers to be quiet, so they can focus more on the road when entering these conditions.

Unless you live in a climate that requires you to navigate these types of driving conditions frequently, it’s hard to feel comfortable or drive confidently in the fog. Here are five great tips to help you reach your destination safely.

1. Reduce your speed.

Because even thin fog can conceal other cars, animals, and signs, it is important that you don’t drive at the usual speed limits. The thicker the fog, the slower you should drive.

Make sure you pay close attention to the speedometer. Driving through fog makes it hard to know how fast you’re going because you can’t see buildings or other cars to determine if your speed is appropriate.

2. Adjust your lighting.

Most vehicles are outfitted with fog lights, which help make the road more visible. It is always best to use these lights, if possible. If not, you should turn on your low-beam headlights.

Using your high-beam headlights might seem like a good idea, but the light reflects off the water particles and bounces back to you, reducing visibility even more.

3. Follow the lines.

The road lines are an important thing to pay attention to during foggy conditions. Since you can’t see things farther than a few feet away, you should watch the white line on the right side of the road to make sure you’re in the appropriate lane. It is easy to veer into another lane of traffic or off the road entirely if you aren’t careful. Using this line helps keep you on the right path.

4. Don’t stop on the road.

If driving in the fog is too intimidating to you, don’t stop on the road. If you are on a highway, don’t just pull off to the side to wait it out either. The fog will hide your car and create another hazard for other drivers, potentially causing a lot of damage for both parties.

If you don’t want to drive in the fog, pull off the freeway or highway and go to a parking lot. You can stay there to wait it out or find a place to rest. It isn’t worth the risk to park so close to traffic.

Once you are parked, turn off your lights so no one thinks they are in a lane of traffic.

5. Use your surroundings.

If you feel like you need some extra support, consider following the taillights in front of you. Some vehicles have built-in fog lights on the back to help give light for those around them.

This safety feature helps other drivers to see the vehicle, to prevent rear-ending, but it also helps provide a light for others to follow. Many drivers depend on the cars in front of them to help navigate the road and regulate speed.

 

Using these five tips will help keep you safe when driving in the fog. It isn’t anything that becomes easier with practice, but knowing how to handle it can reduce some of the stress you feel while in it.

Using Your Other Senses (Besides Sight) While Driving

Using Your Other Senses While Driving | 911 Driving School

Out of all five senses, sight is the most relied on while you are behind the wheel of a car. It’s important to see where you are going, but the other senses are all very important too.

Using the ability to hear, smell, and touch increase your abilities while operating a vehicle. Here are just some of the ways that these all impact your driving every time you get in the driver’s seat.

The Sense of Hearing

Using your ears is just as important as using your eyes when driving. It is very important if you are trying to listen to directions on your GPS, but that’s not all. There are so many sounds on the road that give you clues to what is happening around you that you might not see.

For example, many drivers can hear sirens on emergency vehicles before they ever see them. Once you hear them, staying alert to know when you should pull off the road and out of the way is important. Other important sounds are:

  • Honking horns- to warn or communicate
  • Train whistles and train crossing alerts
  • Braking squeals to warn of nearby accidents, hazards, or potential situations

Other sounds can come from the car that alerts you to mechanical issues. These are all reasons that driver’s education teachers try to teach students that playing your music too loud can impair your driving abilities.

The Sense of Smell

The largest thing smell helps with is letting you know that there is a problem in your car. Any unusual smells coming from under the hood like an overheated engine, exhaust fumes in your car, or burning brakes are all indications you should take your car to a mechanic.

The Sense of Touch

Hands are obviously important when driving a car. However, they do more than just steer. If you pay attention to the tension in your arms and the way the car feels, you can learn a lot.

For instance, if your tires are low on air, or improperly aligned, it’s usually felt in your steering ability. You will find it harder to drive straight because the car will pull to one side. It’s important to pay attention to the feel of your vehicle.

Another way that touch enhances driving is that it helps you pay attention to the road while accomplishing other tasks with one of your hands.

Once you become very familiar with a car, you can tell where buttons are by touch. Instead of having to try to find where everything is, you learn by feel to find the windshield wipers, blinkers, and headlights.

Using Your Senses

Being a safe driver, you will need to use all your senses. People can drive without one of these senses, but if you know how to rely on these abilities, driving is easier because the experience is enhanced.

When you use these other senses to stay alert to different dangers on the road, you are much more likely to get to your destination safely.

 

Right Turn on Red: 3 Things to Know

Right Turn on Red 3 Things to Know | 911 Driving School

“To turn, or not to turn?” that is the question that many drivers have on their minds as they approach a red light. Unless specifically marked otherwise, turning right at a red light is legal. Just because it is legal though, doesn’t mean this is a free pass to turn if at an intersection. Drivers should make sure that the conditions are right. To keep everyone safe, there are three general principles to follow before entering the intersection.

1. Come to a Complete Stop.

Whenever you approach a red light, you should always come to a full and complete stop. Even if you can see that there is no oncoming traffic and you could turn, the law requires you to stop and look.

If you have a red light, that means someone else has a green light and they have the right of way, probably not watching for people to pull out. Even if no one was there as you pulled up, someone might have pulled out into traffic.

It is common for other vehicles to block your view of oncoming traffic too, limiting your view of possible incidents. Instead of doing a slow roll into the lane of traffic, come to a stop and proceed with caution.

2. Yield to Oncoming Traffic.

While you are stopped, look and see who has the green light. Sometimes there are turn signals and the vehicles across the intersection from you are turning into the same lane you want to pull into.

With this situation, it is best to wait until the cars have stopped turning before trying to merge into an opening. Drivers are often racing to make it through a light when they have it. Never try to fit into a small opening, no matter which way traffic is coming.

3. Watch for Pedestrians.

When making a stop at an intersection, it is vital you stop behind the white line before proceeding because you are entering an area where pedestrians might be present. Whether it is the crosswalk on the road you are on or the one you will turn through on the right, one direction will have a walking man.

Walking pedestrians aren’t the only people to watch out for either; keep an eye out for bicyclists. Some will be in the crosswalk, but other riders choose to be on the road, riding with traffic.

Road cyclists typically pull up to the white line to stop and can sneak up on your side without you noticing. Make sure you get a good look at your surroundings before making the turn, staying as close as possible to the right curb to avoid the next lane of oncoming traffic.

 

These three safety tips can help you avoid incidents when attempting a right-hand turn when you have a red light. If you remember to be patient and pay attention to your surroundings, you will have the right attitude of being safe.

Try to remember that turning on a red light is not necessary, and if you are patient, you will eventually get a green light, too.

Driving Awareness on Distracted Driving

Driving Awareness Distracted Driving | 911 Driving School

Washington is the latest state to join the list of places that ban using devices while driving with the Driving Under the Influence of Electronics Act. This includes more than just phones, but also tablets, gaming systems, computers, and other electronic devices while operating a vehicle.

The Demonstration

To help bring awareness to the dangers of driving distracted, the Washington Traffic Safety Commission and Washington State Patrol partnered with 911 Driving School to do a demonstration.

Two teenagers volunteered to drive a car while talking and texting. This was done on a closed course that had cones spread to create different, normal traffic patterns and typical driving problems like sharp turns, switching lanes, avoiding a collision. Police officers, friends, and family helped by texting and calling the teens with questions.

Driving Under the Influence of Electronics Act

The Act applies to drivers in any situation where a driver should still be paying attention to the road. This includes stopped at a red light or a stop sign since a driver is currently in traffic and expected to focus. The Act does not apply to the following situations:

  • Motorists using a smartphone mounted in a dashboard cradle for talking and navigation (watching videos is prohibited)
  • Making calls to 911 or any other emergency service
  • Transit employees and dispatchers communicating for work

This is a move that lawmakers believe will push drivers to practice safety behind the wheel. In 2015, 3,477 people in the United States were killed in incidents where the driver was distracted.

Limiting the use of this technology to a single touch will significantly improve a driver’s ability to pay attention to the road. What most people don’t realize is that in just one or two seconds looking down at a device, the vehicle can move up to several hundred feet, depending on speed. If drivers use voice activation, blue-tooth, and a single touch to answer calls, they have both hands on the wheel for a longer period of time.

If putting in an address takes more than a single push of an app, pull off the road. If drivers need to send a text, they should pull off the road. Keeping both hands on the wheel and eyes on the road helps drivers focus on the road.

After the Act was passed, some areas started issuing tickets immediately, while others gave a six-month grace period. During this time, officers let drivers off with a warning to help spread awareness of the change. That grace period ended, however, at the beginning of the year.

Now drivers spotted using any kind of handheld device will receive a ticket all through the state. The fines on the tickets aren’t cheap either; a first offense fine is $136 and if a second offense occurs within five years, the price jumps to $234.

For a visual on the teenagers driving distracted event that 911 Driving School sponsored, the local news covered it and can be seen here.

Responsible Driving and Holiday Drinking

Responsible Driving & Holiday Drinking

During the holiday season, the alcohol seems to flow freely. Office parties, family gatherings, and the actual holidays themselves keep you busy and your cup full of many different drinks. Combined with more stress than other times of the year, and people just naturally have more opportunity and reason to drink. Many of the most dangerous days for drunk drivers on the road happen during the holiday season for different reasons, including depression and stress. Here is a breakdown of the worst days for drunk driving during this time of year.

Black Wednesday

Many police departments refer to the day before Thanksgiving as “Black Wednesday” because there are so many drunk drivers on the road. Since most college students go on a break, they party before heading home. Others are drinking as they prepare food for Thanksgiving. Whatever the reason, this is a bad day for drunk driving.

Thanksgiving Day

While this day isn’t known for being a drinking holiday, it is a day where people eat way too much food. With that food, comes a lot of alcohol. As one of the most traveled days of the year, people put themselves and others around them at a higher risk when driving around.

Black Friday

Black Friday makes the third day in a row for a very dangerous week for travel. People celebrating with their families the day before, combined with all the shopping deals that start in the morning, those who drive under the influence increase in number.

Christmas Eve/Christmas Day

One of the most traditional days of the year includes more gathering, eating, and drinking. Most of the drinking occurs as Christmas Eve goes on, while dining, wrapping presents, preparing for the next day, etc. and don’t think before getting behind the wheel of a car.

New Year’s Eve/New Year’s Day

The longer New Year’s Eve goes on, the more drunk people become. It contributes to the number of New Year’s Day stats because people stay out partying well past midnight. New Year’s Eve is the day with the most arrests of the year.

Staying Safe

While you can’t control the actions of others, there are a few things you can do to keep yourself from drunk driving. They all wrap up into one main idea though; plan before you drink.

  • Designate a friend to not drink who can drive everyone home.
  • Arrange for a taxi, Uber, Lyft, or another driving service to pick you up at a certain time.
  • Tell others your plan to ask them to help keep you accountable.
  • Remind all the people in your party to not drive after drinking. You might save some lives.

A little planning beforehand is all that is required to keep yourself, and everyone on the road around you, safe. If you don’t have a plan before you drink, you are more likely to make bad decisions. No one wants to spend the holidays in the hospital or mourning the loss of a loved one. All too often, that is what happens though when people choose to drink and drive. Make sure you aren’t the reason for sadness for your family or those on the road during the holiday season.