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Auto Safety Tips - Saving Lives & Money

Is texting or talking on the phone while driving really that dangerous?

Researchers found that your crash risk is 23 times higher when you are texting and driving (Olson, 2009). What makes texting and driving so dangerous? Apparently, researchers found that sending or receiving a text takes drivers an average of 4.6 seconds. Although that seems like no time at all, consider this: If you’re going 55 mph, that’s like driving the entire length of a football field blind.
 
So what about talking on a handheld phone? Well, unfortunately, that’s not safe either. One study found that you are 4 times likelier to crash using a handheld device (Hosking, 2006).
 
We know many drivers see texting or talking on the phone as “convenient,” but these forms of distracted driving have proven to be deadly. The U.S. Department of Transportation reported that 3,460 people died due to distracted driving in 2016 (NHTSA, 2017). That’s nearly 100 people a day! This doesn’t even mention injuries: A whopping 424,000 people were estimated to have been injured due to distracted driving in 2013 (NHTSA, 2015).
 
In short, it is dangerous. If you avoid distracted driving, you are a lot less likely to end up in an accident.
 

I’m about to take a road trip. What should I do to prepare for an emergency?

Road trips are great, but it’s important to be prepared in case you experience one of life’s unexpected adventures. Here’s a checklist of things to do and to pack before you go on your next road trip.
 

Things to Do Before You Go

  • Check your tires, oil, and fluid levels for maintenance.
    Poor air pressure in your tires can contribute to safety and fuel economy issues. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, every one drop in PSI (tire pressure) will lower your gas mileage by 0.2% (NHTSA, 2012).
  • Check the weather along your route.
    This allows you to plan ahead and reschedule your journey in case of snow, tornadoes, flooding, or wildfires.
  • Get a good night’s sleep.
    Drowsy driving claimed 803 lives in 2016 (NHTSA, 2017), and contributes to an estimated 100,000 accidents annually.
  • Make sure you are part of a Roadside Assistance Program.
    If you need a tow, help with a flat tire, of run out of fuel, a roadside assistance program will come to your aid!

“Just-in-Case” Items to Bring

  • Water and snacks
  • Cell phone and charger
  • Jumper cables
  • Tools to change a tire
  • First aid kit
  • Flashlight
  • Any necessary maps
  • If wintry: a blanket, sand, shovel, ice scraper

Following these safety tips can truly make a life or death difference on your trip. That’s why we suggest printing this checklist , so you can go through it before every journey. Safe travels!

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National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). 2012. Evaluation of the Effectiveness Of TPMS in Proper Tire Pressure Maintenance. Figure 8, p. 28.
 
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). 2015. Traffic Safety Facts: Distracted Driving 2013. https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812132
 
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). 2017. USDOT Releases 2016 Fatal Traffic Crash Data. https://www.nhtsa.gov/press-releases/usdot-releases-2016-fatal-traffic-crash-data
 
Olson, R.L., R.J. Hanowski, J.S. Hickman, and J. Bocanegra. 2009. Driver Distraction in Commercial Vehicle Operation. Center for Truck and Bus Safety. Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. Blacksburg, VA. https://www.distraction.gov/research/PDF-Files/Driver-Distraction-Commercial-Vehicle-Operations.pdf
 
Hosking, S., K. Young, and M. Regan. 2006. The Effects of Text Messaging on Young Novice Driver Performance. Monasah University Accident Research Centre. Victoria, Australia. https://www.distraction.gov/research/PDF-Files/Effects-of-Text-Messaging.pdf