vehicle safety

Drivers Education from Experience

Passing a driver’s test and getting an official drivers license is only the first step in car ownership. All the little details from written laws to unwritten, much gets missed in driver’s education. Here are a few tips to help you or your young driver with the things they didn’t teach you in school.

There are many unwritten rules of the road that are learned from empirical education.

  • Flashing headlights – Fast flashes of headlights is a way to warn of a serious concern ahead such as a car accident or major road hazard. Some people will also flash their headlights to warn that they aren’t planning to slow down which is often a behavior of aggressive driving, however in the rare case of a busy intersection with a large vehicle such as a semi-truck, the truck driver may flash their headlights to warn that they aren’t able to stop the vehicle as the light turns from yellow to red. Many drivers will flash their lights once to warn of a speed trap, this is illegal in many states and honestly unethical. Speeding causes accidents and those who speed need a reminder to slow down. A headlight flash is also used sometimes to warn you that your headlights aren’t on or that you have a vehicle issue such as a low tire.

  • Stopping at a red light isn’t an opportunity to check your phone. Don’t hit the gas when the light turns green but be ready to go. If the person in front of you doesn’t take off the second the light turns, don’t immediately honk. It’s rude and aggressive, give them a few seconds before sending one quick reminder.

  • When it’s safe to do so, let people into your lane. On the same note, when you see that your lane is about to end get over, if you rudely rush up to the merging point no one will want to let you in.

Common courtesy

  • Unless your vehicle uses diesel, avoid the few pumps at the gas station that provide diesel.

  • If you are at a busy gas station and plan to go inside after filling up, drive your vehicle to a parking spot so that others can fill up.

  • Give a thank you wave when people are nice.

  • If you have to drive much slower than the speed limit, stay in the right lane, use your hazard lights and when safe pull over to let others pass.

Prevent the wreck

  • Don’t tailgate. It’s not just annoying to the person in front of you, it’s not safe. If the person in front of you is forced to hit their brakes you have no where to go but into them. Keeping a safe distance between yourself and the vehicle in front of you prevents unintentional accidents, this is ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT when you are driving behind a motorcycle.

  • We were all taught to use our turn signals, however too many seem to think this is only necessary to prevent getting a ticket. Turn signals are a warning to the people driving around you that you are about to slow down or merge. By not using them you are increasing the chance of being hit by another car.

  • Stop signs aren’t suggestions. You have to stop and look for pedestrians that are about to walk or ride their bike in front of you. Blind hills and driveways are called blind, because no matter how much x-ray vision you may think you have, you won’t be able to see oncoming vehicles until you stop at the sign.

  • Don’t pass on the right and unless you are passing or about to make a left turn, stay out of the left lane. The left lane is needed for emergency vehicles to safely and quickly arrive at their destination. When you see or hear an emergency vehicle, immediately get out of the way. Someone’s life is dependent upon that firefighter, EMT and or police officer getting to them as quickly as possible.

  • Stay off your phone, again this is common knowledge, and yet there are 1.6 million accidents every year caused from cell phone use while driving.  Drivers who use their phones are even more impaired than drivers under the influence of alcohol. Bottom line, don’t allow any distractions, no phones, no alcohol, no carload of friends.

Be prepared…always

  • Every car should have the following:

    • An emergency first aid kit, a blanket, a window glass breaker, current insurance card, a flashlight and a map.

    • If you are in an accident pull over, stay calm and follow these steps before leaving the scene of the accident.

June is National Safety Month

As our loved ones file out the door each morning, the one wish we all have for each other is for everyone to safely return home each evening. Having some good sensible knowledge on how to help ensure that wish is granted every day will help put your mind at ease and help your loved ones to be more cognizant of dangers that exist in the world around them. The National Safety Council (NCS) has made June National Safety Month to provide you with everything you need to live as safely as possible.

NCS aims to prevent injuries and accidents with online resources for every potentially dangerous situation from falls to vehicle accidents. Their website provides articles, tips and information that can be downloaded and printed. The NCS encourages participation in National Safety Month in nearly every application. Because every possible safety hazard is addressed within the NCS website the following is a basic breakdown of the most common hazards:

At home: The number one cause of injury or death is poisoning, mainly from prescription drug overdose. This is followed by car accidents, falls, choking, drowning, fires and finally natural or environmental disasters. NCS has tips to prevent each of these tragedies as well as seasonal specific safety tips such as preventing firework injuries and safe bicycling practices during summer months.

At work: The same hazards that exist at home also exist in the workplace, however the likelihood of being injured by machinery or equipment is greatly increased in the workplace. NCS offers training to companies to help their employees prevent injuries from happening as well as first aid and medical response training.

NCS suggest that for both the workplace and in your community, participating in National Safety Month is a good opportunity to host safety presentations, lunch and learns or even have a fun safety trivia game.

On the road: NCS lists alcohol, distracted driving and speeding as the top three causes of vehicle related deaths that claimed over 40,000 lives in 2017.

Defensive driver training and other workplace programs are suggested to not only keep employees safe but everyone else on the road safe as well. With our recent severe flooding and rain it is also imperative that we all make a promise to abide by the well known saying, “Turn Around, Don’t Drown”.

To learn more about what you can do to keep everyone in your life and community safer NCS is offering online webinars during the month of June. Wishing you a SAFE & HAPPY Month!

New Road Designs, Crazy or Crafty?

If you have ever driven through a traffic circle or found yourself driving on a road that suddenly forces you to cross into what feels like the wrong lane there is a good chance you have wondered, what were they thinking?

As it turns out there’s a method behind all that road twisting madness and an intention to get everyone from point A to point B with a few less crashes than our highway designs of the past. There is one thing for sure, any unexpected turn, twist or curve certainly slows us down a bit, and right there my friends is the entire reason for the new designs.

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Obviously, we all know by now that driving while distracted is a terrible idea. However, even if you are an exemplary example of the fully focused driver, there is a good chance that many of the other drivers sharing your route are engaging with their smart phone or their vehicles built in technology. As a society we have tried just about everything imaginable to convince people to keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road. Public education on the dangers of distracted driving to laws that prohibit the use of cell phones/smart phones while driving have both helped the situation but by no means solved the problem of well, humans being human.

The unfortunate statistics show that this situation is only growing. 3,450 people were killed in accidents in 2016 that were caused by distracted drivers and 391,000 injured from the same cause in 2015. The World Resource Institute created a “Safe System” design approach that has begun to be implemented around the world. This system is already proving to significantly reduce crashes and fatalities.  Whether you love them or hate them, roundabouts or traffic circles provide the following benefits that have shown to make driving safer:

1.     Vehicle speeds are typically reduced to 10 to 20 miles per hour.

2.     Because there are no traffic lights, accidents normally caused from someone trying to get to the others side of a stale yellow are eliminated.

3.     Traffic flows one way only resulting in a reduction of head on collisions.  

Of course, as these designs only work so long as everyone follows the rules, which just like the rule of putting the phone away before starting the car is not exactly followed by everyone. Our world is constantly changing, as is our technology, our vehicles and even the infrastructure we travel on. Who knows what the roads of the future may look like. For now, if anything, we at least know why they are the way they are.

As we embark on the holidays we at Richards’ Collision Center wish everyone a Safe & Happy Holiday and Journey! https//:www.richardscollisioncenter.com

 Blog by: Allison Green

 

 

 

HOT VEHICLES KILL KIDS!

Summer may be almost over however August often brings some of the hottest days of the year. Most children left in hot cars were done so by accident by loving parents. So how can this happen? A recent Texas Public Radio story delved into the subject. The personal interview with a father who had left his son in the car after dropping his wife off at work was the case in point of how our brains could forget something so important as a child in a hot vehicle. Our modern lives are busy, often filled with daily repetition and innumerable distractions. In this particular story, the father normally dropped his child off at daycare before dropping his wife off at work. One simple change in routine, taking his wife to work first was enough to convince his brain that the routine could continue on as normal. Thankfully it occurred to him that his son was in the car soon enough that although the boy suffered six strokes, he survived the incident.

Pediatric Vehicular Heatstroke (PVH) is responsible for an average of 37 children’s deaths per year and the death of 43 children in 2017. [1] A car parked in the sun with an outside air temperature of 80* - 100* can reach 103* - 172*. In just 10 minutes a car's temperature can increase by 20*[2]. Just 60* outside is hot enough for a child to die from PVH[3]. Being an absolutely preventative situation, the experts have several tips you can follow to ensure the children in your lives are never left in a hot car.

Keeping the kids out of a parked car:

1/3 of car-related heat deaths in children are caused by children unknowingly getting into hot cars. Once you have parked a car and are sure the kids are out- lock it and put the keys where the kids can’t get them![4]

Avoiding leaving kids in a hot car:

Make a habit of leaving a needed item near your child when you put them in the car. Your smartphone, purse, laptop or tools can act as one more reason to check the back seat before getting out of your vehicle. [5]:

Ask your child care provider to contact you if you haven’t dropped your child off by your normal drop off time. You can also create a notification in your phone to go off right after that normal drop off time to remind you to check.

Many new vehicles now come with rear seat reminder technology. Anytime a back door is opened and closed the reminder will afterward alert the driver to check the back seat.

SensorSafe Technology connects to your child’s car seat strap and will alert you when you stop your car that the child is still in the seat.

See something, do something:

Several states, including, Kansas now have laws that allow you to break into a car to rescue a child or pet as long as you call 911 first. No matter what State you are in always call for emergency help if you see a child alone in a hot vehicle. This video brings it all home and shows a bystander that reaches out to help an 8-month-old child that would've been left in a hot car for 24 minutes. https://www.10tv.com/article/two-deaths-and-video-close-call-bring-new-attention-kids-hot-cars

Lastly, please share this blog to help us spread awareness and save many children's lives. 

Blog by: Allison Greene


Happy & Safe 4th Of July Tips!

From the delight of parades, joyful parties, to exhilarating fireworks in the night sky, here are some very important tips to keep you and those you love safe and happy this week as we celebrate the birth of our GREAT Country!   

According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS), Independence Day is one of the two most dangerous holidays of the year to be on the road.  IIHS finds the cause of the largest number of crashes in one single day of the year to be mainly caused by alcohol impairment. The take-away? If you notice someone swerving in front of you or behind you, avoid them by changing lanes or taking an exit. If there's a passenger in your vehicle ask them to jot down their license plate number and call the police to let them know their location. By doing so you may save their life and others in their path. A little extra caution and attention to details can go a long way whenever driving, especially in potentially dangerous situations. Imagine you are driving in a heavy thunderstorm, of course, you’re going to slow down a bit to pay more attention to where the other vehicles on the road are located. Impaired drivers aren’t always as obvious as torrential rain so keep your eyes peeled.

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Another important topic is fireworks safety. Download this safety tips flyer from Americanpyro.com and share with those who will be leading up the backyard fireworks show. According to a 2017 U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) report, there were an estimated 12,900 fireworks-related, emergency department-treated injuries and 8 deaths in 2017.  Parents take note as 14% of those injuries were because of SPARKLERS. Not only are fireworks potentially very dangerous to ourselves and loved ones, they can also be dangerous to our landscapes and homes. Because of this many municipalities have specific laws regarding which, if any fireworks are allowed.  For a Kansas City Metro list click here.

Last but not least, always remember your pets don’t have a clue what this whole popping and booming is all about. The sound of fireworks terrifies most of our furry friends sending them off into a sometimes unrecognizable place far from home.  Already two days before the celebration officially begins social media community groups are filling up with posts of missing dogs and cats.

As the final note of “Stars and Stripes” pours from the piccolo- As the last shower of black powder falls through the air in glowing red, white and blue- As the silent still hot darkened sky hangs heavy with the thick smell of sulfur that remains in our memories from childhood into eternity- As you slowly eke your way out of the parking lot and into the snails-pace traffic jam- recall your feelings of gratitude for the great freedoms we enjoy.

We at Richards' Collision Center wish you, your family and friends a very Happy & Safe 4th of July!  #CelebrateSafely!