Articles Posted in Car Accidents

Slow-Driver-Image-300x216Speeding, or driving too fast, is one of the top three traffic accident factors across the state of Indiana every year. However, driving far too slowly can also be a real road hazard.

Take for example, a slow driver and a frustrated driver behind him. The frustrated motorist may get impatient and may try to overtake the slow-poke motorist, revving up speeds in a possibly dangerous situation. In a case like this, the slow motorist may not be directly responsible for an accident, but the bad driving has definitely contributed to a dangerous scenario. Drivers who go too slowly for the road conditions also contribute to road rage or aggressive driving by other frustrated motorists.

In fact, slow driving or left lane camping in some states, including Indiana, is considered such a serious hazard that there are penalties that apply to motorists who drive too slowly in the “fast lane”.  These penalties punish drivers who block the traffic in the left lane, possibly creating a serious traffic hazard.

Double YellowDrowsiness, medical emergencies at the wheel, or blackouts as a result of alcohol or drug use are linked to many lane departure accidents across the United States every year. That information comes from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, whose research focused on lane-drift accidents, in which drivers lost control of the vehicle and veered into the other lane. The researchers found that incapacitation was a factor in approximately 32% of all accidents linked to lane departure, and 42% of accidents that ended in fatal or serious injuries.

They also found that the driver fell asleep at the wheel in 17% of the accidents that were analyzed, and the driver was incapacitated either because he had suffered a medical emergency like a heart attack at the wheel, or blacked out as result of drug or alcohol use in another 17% of the accidents.

Crash avoidance technologies like lane departure warning systems are designed to reduce the risk of accidents that occur when a car veers into another lane. These accidents are much more common than you believe, and can have serious consequences. However, the crash reduction results of lane departure warning systems have been fairly disappointing thus far. These systems have not been found to reduce accident risks to the extent we had hoped. The systems are still fairly new, and we must wait many more years to see whether these systems can have the crash reducing effects that they promise.

headlamp-2940_1920The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has disturbing news about auto safety in this country. According to the federal agency, preliminary data indicates that there was a disturbing increase in the number of people killed in traffic accidents during the first six months of this year.

According to the data, fatalities in traffic accidents increased by about 10.4% during the first six months of 2016. The federal administration recorded a total of 17,775 fatalities in traffic accidents, during the first half of 2016. That was a sharp increase, and it is even more concerning because it comes after a sudden increase in traffic fatalities recorded during 2015. Clearly, much of the progress that has been made over the past decade in reducing traffic accident fatalities is at risk of coming undone.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration calls this increase an “immediate crisis.” The agency is taking the sharp uptick in fatalities very seriously and pointing to newer causes of traffic accident fatalities, like distracted driving. There is no reason to believe that people are becoming more responsible about using cell phones and texting devices while driving. In fact, electronic communication devices have simply become even more distracting, and encourage motorists to continue to communicate, play, shop and other things while they are driving.

tired driving picDrowsy driving is one of the most underestimated safety risks in the United States, and according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, has contributed to more than 7,000 deaths in accidents over the past decade alone.

Contrary to popular expectations, it’s not just people who have not had enough sleep who may be at risk of a drowsy driving accident. There are lifestyle factors that can increase your risk of drowsiness, and therefore make you susceptible to an accident.

For instance, consumption of alcohol is likely  to magnify the effect of lack of sleep, increasing the risk of drowsiness, and causing you to possibly doze off at the wheel. If you have not slept well over the past few days, avoid drinking before you drive. The combination of alcohol and lack of sleep can be deadly.

Winter DrivingWinter in Indiana can be quite beautiful but it can also be quite treacherous.  When heavy snows fall overnight, or during rush hour traffic, even the most efficient snow removal systems have difficulty keeping up.

When the roads become slick and visibility is limited, Indiana drivers must be extra careful about their safety and the safety of other drivers on the road.  Every driver needs to remember there are several important tips for safer driving on snow and ice-covered roads.

  • Ensure that your tires are properly inflated.  This provides better traction on snow covered roads.

cell phone addictionAn Indiana driver doesn’t have to look at too many cars around them to see that nearly every car on the road has a digital screen of some sort.  New cars offer screens that update the car’s driving status.  This includes the engine function, the speed of the car, and the miles per gallon.  Electric cars offer graphics that illustrate the charging of their batteries.

Children strapped into car seats watch cartoons through built in DVD players with individual screens placed on the seats and in the roof of the minivan.  Teenagers text and check their social media.  Sometimes it happens when they drive or at a red light.  Adults view their email, social media, and texts from behind the wheel.  It is obvious that drivers are unable to stop themselves from using a cell phone while driving.  Recent studies prove this non-stop use of electrical devices could be due drivers’ addiction because of the good feelings that they have when using the electronic devices.

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dangerous%20road.jpgSummer driving can place additional strain on your car, with long holiday driving on roads that are often clogged with traffic. Your car safety kit will need a few extra items to help you drive safely this summer.

Here are a few essentials to throw into your kit. You will probably already have a number of all-season essentials, including jumper cables, duct tape, flashlight, a fully charged cell phone, and repair equipment for routine maintenance, like tire changes. However, during summer, you will also need to pack extra water. Keep at least 1-gallon of water for every additional passenger in your car.

Keep a tire jack and lug wrench, a multi-tool set, and a pocket knife. Car breakdowns are frequent during summer, and the last thing that you want to do when you are coping with a car breakdown on a long highway with no help in sight, is a couple of kids and no potable water. Bear in mind that summer means a higher chance of your car heating, and breakdowns.
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Fido%200133.jpgDriving around, with your dog unrestrained, unsecured, and with his head hanging out the window, is not only dangerous for him but also for you. Unfortunately, far too many dog owners think nothing of driving around without bothering to restrain their pets safely in the car. That increases their risk of an accident.

For one thing, the dog may get distracted, walk around the car, and may try to cross over from the back seat to the front. He may get fidgety and may try to sneak into your lap. All these constitute distractions, taking your attention away from the task of driving. Besides, if you are involved in an accident, an unrestrained dog immediately turns into a deadly projectile that can cause severe injuries.

In spite of all these dangers, a new study conducted by the AAA found that as many as one in five persons take their hand off their steering wheel while driving in an effort to keep their dog from climbing into the front seat. This is also in spite of the fact that there are a variety of pet travel products in the market to prevent this kind of situation.
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blurry%20road.jpgYour accident risk could still be high even if you are using a headset to have a conversations while driving. This includes the use of a voice-activated system in your car to accomplish functions that you would otherwise have done manually. A growing body of research indicates that voice technologies aren’t necessarily safer technology, and won’t necessarily help reduce the risk of an accident.

For years now, many of us have known that headsets don’t necessarily reduce accident risks. In spite of that, much of the focus on distracted driving across the country has been legislation that prohibits the use of handheld cell phones and texting devices at the wheel. Those bans are based on the theory that distractions involve visual, manual and cognitive distractions. That means anything that takes your hand away from the steering wheel, your eyes away from the road, and your mind off the task off the task of driving is considered a distraction.
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scratch%20and%20dent.jpgTraffic accident fatalities across the country dropped in 2013, compared to the previous year. According to data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of highway traffic accident fatalities across the country dropped to from 33,782 in 2012 to 32,719 in 2013. That was a decrease of more than 1,000 deaths, much of that driven by a drop in the number of motorcycle fatalities and drunk driving deaths. Although that is encouraging news, the fact that 32,719 lives were lost in accidents is a tragedy. While a significant decrease, the number of deaths are still far too high.

Over the past decade, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported significant declines in traffic accident fatalities, boosted by dramatic drops in the number of people killed in alcohol-related car accidents and motorcycle wrecks. That trend continued this year. In 2013, 10,076 fatalities were linked to driving under the influence of alcohol. That was a drop from 10,336 drunk driving accident fatalities reported in 2012. The most significant progress that was made in 2013 was in the number of motorcycle accident fatalities.

Contrary to the national trend, Indiana experienced a slight increase in traffic accident deaths…
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