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Driving Safety Tips

1. Always wear a safety belt. Safety belts save lives and help reduce the risk of
serious injury in the event of a crash. Every passenger should wear a safety belt for
every car ride, no exceptions. Remember in SC it is illegal NOT to wear your seat
belt. And remember to have children safely secured in a child restraint or child seat.
See the following link for more information about child restraints:
http://www.buckleupsc.com/cps/laws.htm
2. Only use hands-free mobile devices. This year, vow not to text, sort music, or
otherwise play with your mobile device while behind the wheel. If you must talk on
the phone while driving, use a hands-free headset or pull over to a safe location first.
In 2009, 36 percent of crashes were caused by distracted drivers, according to the
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). As of January 03, 2012, a
new federal law mandates drivers with a Commercial Driver’s License in a
commercial truck or SCHOOL BUS cannot operate a hand held cell phone. If
stopped by police fines can be as much as $2700.00! Enforce this rule with young
drivers in your house too. Fifty percent of teens admit to texting while driving,
according to the American Automobile Association (AAA). And cell phones are not
the only culprit. Many times I have seen drivers reading newspapers, applying
makeup, and even shaving while driving. Even boisterous children in the car can
cause problems. Just use (and enforce) the “Don’t make me pull this car over!” phrase
your parents used! There are many things that distract the driver that cause collisions.
Make life simple and safe.
3. Keep your cool. Let go of road rage. That means taking a deep breath when
someone cuts you off rather than honking your horn or tailgating. It also means
slowing down and steering clear if you see a driver acting erratically. If someone is
exhibiting road rage, call 911 and give a complete description of the driver and vehicle
as well as direction it is going. If someone is following you aggressively, drive to the
nearest police department. NEVER stop and get out confronting them. Many drivers
have been murdered this way. The risks are real: Up to 56 percent of fatal crashes are
caused by aggressive driving behavior according to the AAA Foundation. Take
AAA’s aggressive driver quiz to find out whether you tend to be hostile or calm
behind the wheel at the following link:
http://www.aaafoundation.org/quizzes/index.cfm?button=aggressive
4. Follow the speed limit. We are all in a hurry, but slowing down could save your
life. According to the NHTSA, speeding is a contributing factor in 31 percent of fatal
crashes. Male drivers age 15 to 24 are particularly at risk—37 to 39 percent involved
in fatal crashes were speeding. Speeding tickets are expensive with some being over
$300.00. But they can cause your vehicle insurance to double.
5. Stay grounded in a skid. Electronic Stability Control (ESC) applies anti-lock
brakes (ABS) to individual tires to help keep your car going straight in a slide. The
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration requires all 2012 vehicles to include
ESC, an improvement estimated to save up to 9,600 lives and prevent up to 238,000
injuries each year. If your car does not have ABS, tap your brakes to avoid locking
your wheels and going into a slide.
6. Monitor your tire pressure. Winter’s cold temperatures can deflate tires and
reduce tire traction, which can cause you to lose control of your car. Most vehicles
have stickers on the driver’s door frame with the correct inflation information. Of
course it can also be found in the car’s hand book. You have read it, haven’t you?
Tires under inflated by as little as 5 p.s.i. can cause you to lose control in an evasive
maneuver. Inspect the tread depth. It should at least reach the President Lincoln’s
head on a penny inserted between the grooves. If you have any doubts, refer to a
mechanic or tire store. Tires with too little tread can cause you to have an accident
and get a ticket from the friendly police officer.
7. Know what to do after a collision. After a crash you should unlock doors, turn
on hazard lights and turn off the car. Try to remain calm. Ensure all in the vehicle are
okay and call 911 immediately. If it is safe to exit the car, you have a duty to check on
the other party to see if they are injured. If there is any question about injuries tell the
911 operator EMS may be needed. Give your name and location. Stay on the line if
the operator asks you to do so. Only move the vehicles if their location might cause
another collision. Stay in the car and out of traffic if possible. I worked a wreck once
where the person was not injured but was struck by another car while she was standing
in the road. She survived but with very serious injuries.
If people are injured, do not move them unless there is a risk of further serious injury
such as the vehicle catching on fire. Moving an injured person can cause more or
serious injuries. Unlike the movies, cars rarely catch on fire from an accident. But if
you smell a strong odor gas it could. In a collision where the air bags activate, many
drivers think the car is smoking because the air bags are coated with a powder that
keeps the material from sticking together. This powder becomes airborne when the
bag deploys resembling smoke.
Be polite to the other driver but admit nothing. Always call 911 and let the police
investigate the collision. Should you decide to settle it among yourselves and leave,
you may find more damage upon further inspection of your vehicle. But once you
leave the scene, Law Enforcement will probably not investigate and you will be stuck.
Remember state law requires you to report the collision to the police if the is damage
is greater than $1000 or if someone is injured. Failure to do this can result in criminal
charges. With cars these days, it doesn’t take much damage to reach the $1000 limit
either.
8. NEVER drive if you have consumed any alcohol! We shouldn’t have to
discuss this. Studies show that 50% of traffic fatalities are alcohol related. That’s
every other one folks. Over the years I have investigated many fatal accidents. It’s
never fun. What the driver never sees is the emotional impact on their family. I have
had to go to people’s homes to give them the bad news. I have seen family members
running up to a wreck scene to find their loved one dead. Think about your family.
And if you do drink and drive and you are caught, the cost could be enormous.
Thousands of dollars in fines, thousands of dollars for attorney fees, vehicle insurance
tripling, lost time from work, time spent in jail, public embarrassment, and in some
cases, jobs lost. These are all real possibilities. And remember it’s not only alcohol.
Any cough and cold medicine or prescription drugs that impair your judgment and/or
abilities can have the same effect and consequences. Don’t do it. Enough said.
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