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Advice for Drivers During a Traffic Stop

Advice for Drivers During a Traffic Stop

We queried a few law enforcement agencies (sheriff, police, highway patrol) for their advice for drivers who are being pulled over for a traffic ticket.

 

The Pasco County (FL) Sheriff’s Office created a 2-minute video to share with us and our readers. (A list is included at the end of the video.)


 

 

A Tweeter, @SuperHerosWife, also responded to the conversation with the advice “not to argue, that’s what traffic court is for.” We think that’s good advice. You may have heard, “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar,” which means you get what you want more often when you’re nice or have a positive attitude. It applies in a traffic stop, also. An officer isn’t going to change his/her mind because you argued or raised your voice to them. You’re elevating the adrenaline on both sides of the car door. You might drive away with additional tickets for other things the deputy noticed you had done on the road, or worse, you might get arrested. Accepting responsibility, apologizing, or being understanding of the sergeant’s viewpoint might make the officer feel like giving you a warning instead.

A Little Driving Music

A Little Driving Music

 

 

Music & Driving

While my heart loves to hear “On the Road Again” by Willie Nelson, studies show that “On the Road Again” by Canned Heat is a better option for me while driving.

 

A limited-participant study in 2013 by London Metropolitan University concluded the “optimum tempo of a song for safe driving, mimic[s] the human heartbeat at around 60 to 80 beats per minute.” (Source)

 

That’s kind of obvious… Sammy Hagar’s tune, “I Can’t Drive 55” scores 136 beats-per-minute and I’m showing my age here. For you youngsters: from the soundtrack of The Fast & Furious movies, “Tokyo Drift” by Teriyaki Boyz speeds things up at 127 BPM and “Extreme Ways” by Moby from the Jason Bourne soundtrack races by at 130 BPM.

 

Now, I enjoy “Come Away With Me” by Norah Jones and “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” by Aerosmith, but I need more than just a short list of songs to choose from when I drive if I’m going to make better choices. A list of best and worst pre-2014 songs for driving included these hits:

driving songs 1safedriver

 

Look up your favorite tunes at https://www.bpmdatabase.com/ or https://jog.fm/ and see how they rate on beats per minute, then share your favorite defensive driving songs here or on Twitter and help us update our playlists!

 

 

Coming soon: optimal music volume for safe driving and tech tools to help you enjoy your music without taking your eyes from the road!

“Drowsy Driving” Another Form of Distracted Driving

“Drowsy Driving” Another Form of Distracted Driving

 

So you’ve headed all the warnings about distracted driving. You’ve put away your cell phone, ignored the radio dial, ate before you got in the car, and asked all your passengers to simmer down.

 

You are ready to be the safest driver you can be…right?

 

Well, the answer may hinge on one seemingly silly question. Are you getting enough sleep?

 

That’s right. If you are over tired, all the distracted driving precautions in the world won’t be able to help you keep your eyes on the road.

 

Sleep deprived driving, also known as drowsy driving is becoming a major problem on U.S. roads and highways. The National Traffic Safety Administration estimates that more than 60% of adults reported driving while drowsy in the last year and one in six fatal crashes involves a drowsy driver. What’s more, research has shown that drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving.

How Car Companies Are Using Technology To Help Prevent Distracted Driving

How Car Companies Are Using Technology To Help Prevent Distracted Driving

 

It has been almost one full year since a school bus driver in Tennessee, James Davenport, was texting while driving when he swerved onto the other side of the highway and crashed into a second school bus. The school bus that James Davenport was operating was occupied by numerous children that he was responsible for driving home after they had just gotten out of school. This distracted driving school bus collision ended up claiming the lives of a 7 year old student, 6 year old student, 46 year old teacher’s aide, and the school bus driver, James Davenport.

 

A couple weeks ago the investigations into the accident concluded and highlighted the alarming, and horrible toll distracted driving can take on us and our children. It is obvious that technology is playing a huge role in this distracted driving lethal epidemic we are facing, but it is also true that there are a number of different ways new technology based apps and gadgets can be vital in cutting down and hopefully eventually ending this epidemic.

 

As the demand for new and exciting technology in vehicles continues to increase, automakers have begun to identify the impact need to deliver these new technology features that allow drivers too safely interact with incoming text messages and calls, without the need of having to touch or look at their phones while doing so.

 

For example, Ford’s SYNC operating system reads incoming text messages aloud and sends text messages dictated by the driver. It also has the MyKey feature, allowing parents the ability to block calls and texts when teens are driving.

 

It is being reported that General Motors (GM) is developing eye-tracking technology that can sense when drivers look away at a text message.

 

BMW unveiled plans for gesture controls that will allow drivers to point at the vehicle’s navigation screen to receive an incoming text or call.

 

Recognizing the unlikelihood that drivers will break the habit of glancing down at their phones anytime soon, car-makers are increasingly adapting vehicles with new technologies that lie within drivers’ field of vision and don’t take their focus off the road.

 

These anti-distraction technologies have come in reaction to growing statistics that confirm distracted driving is a major cause of injuries and fatalities — and that young people are primarily vulnerable to the risks and dangers of all the distracted driving behavior resulting from new technology. Risks for car crashes quadruple when the driver is using a phone, and phone use is the second leading cause for teen crashes.

 

Because companies want more millennials to buy vehicles, connected features like touch screens, apps and Bluetooth that these consumers often seek are becoming the norm in most lower-end cars. These features also help reduce the cognitive load on drivers, thereby mitigating risk for distraction.

Smartphone Safety While Driving

Smartphone Safety While Driving

 

Smartphones are Here to Stay

 

In today’s world of technological advancements, products previously seen as futuristic have become commonplace. Where diners, drive-ins, and sock hops were once regular weekend activities it’s now become standard for teens to have smartphones, communicate through text messages, and constantly stay connected to everything and everyone through Social Media.

 

A study conducted by the Pew Research Center shows just how much of an upward trajectory smartphone ownership is on. In May of 2011, 35% of Americans owned smartphones. Just two years later, in May of 2013, that number rose to 56%. By 2017 smartphone ownership in the US is projected to balloon to 75%.

 

Such new technologies are overwhelmingly positive additions to our world. Smartphones are designed to make life easier and more enjoyable, but like many other new developments there are drawbacks. It’s important for parents to have a complete understanding of the potential issues presented by these new devices and know how they can work to prevent any problems from occurring.

 

Facts About Texting While Driving

 

The evolution from child to teen is arguably the most significant transition humans make, and it all happens in a relatively short period of time. An increase in responsibilities is one of the many changes that occur, and perhaps the biggest responsibility we receive is the privilege to drive.

 

According to this infographic on teen driving safety, every day seven teens die in a car accident. Our youth tends to have the mindset that “It won’t happen to me”. Well, it can, and if the rules of the road are not abided by, there’s a great chance something bad will happen. Most people don’t realize that texting while driving is significantly more dangerous than drunk driving. A study conducted by Car and Driver Magazine concluded the following on driver’s reaction times to stopping:

 

No distractions: 0.54 seconds to brake

Legally drunk: Add 4 feet to brake

Reading: Add 36 feet to brake

Typing: Add 70 feet to brake

 

How Can We Prevent It?

 

Texting while driving is extremely dangerous, and while our youth does have that knowledge, they seem to ignore the facts. According to a poll conducted by AAA, 94% of teens said texting while driving is a serious danger, but 35% of those respondents still admitted to doing it. They know it’s dangerous, yet they still do it, so how can we stop it? Technology! Here are some apps that can be downloaded onto your teen’s smartphone that are designed to help keep them from texting while driving:

 

AT&T DriveMode – Available on Android and Blackberry

Textecution – Available on Android only

Drivesafe.ly – Available on iPhone, Android, Windows, and Blackberry

 

Ask your teen for help if needed, but installing these apps is one way to help keep your teen safe on the road.

Back-to-School Driver Safety Basics

Back-to-School Driver Safety Basics

 

Summer is winding down, which means the end of lazy, worry-free days by the pool and the beginning of another hectic school year. With this change of seasons and routines also comes a drastic change in driving patterns on the road, and things can get a little crazy if you don’t know what to look for.

 

Whether you’re a parent, a newly licensed student, or just another driver on the road, here are some important things to keep in mind in these next couple months.

Watch Out for Pedestrians

 

The beginning of a school year means more buses and bicycles on the road and more kids potentially walking to class, especially if you live in a residential area close to a school. According to the National Center for Safe Routes to School, more children are hit by cars near school than at any other location. Keep an eye out for any kids on the sidewalk, buses stopped by the side of the road, or any other indications that kids are afoot – even the smartest tykes may dart in and out of busy streets and potentially endanger their lives.

 

Don’t stop in the middle of crosswalks – blocking them may entice youngsters and other pedestrians to go around your vehicle, increasing the chances that they’ll be hit by traffic.

Never pass a car that looks like it’s stopped for pedestrians.

Slow down appropriately when you’re in a school zone, and especially when kids are present.

 

Remember, in most states, it’s illegal to pass a stopped school bus. Don’t risk passing a bus just to shave a few seconds off your commute – the consequences can be expensive and deadly.

Be Wary of New Drivers

 

A new school year brings a surge of newly-licensed teen drivers and fresh-faced, inexperienced college students with only a couple years of driving under their belt. According to the National Safety Council, teen crashes spike in September and happen more commonly in the mornings and afternoons, when school begins and ends.

 

If you’re a parent dropping off your kids at high school, keep on high alert for new teen drivers. Give them the space to figure out their driving skills. Even if they’ve shown exemplary skills in driver training classes, they typically don’t have the skills that come primarily from experience, such as gauging gaps in traffic, reading the general flow of traffic on roads, and having situational awareness while driving in congested areas. Give these kids all the space necessary so both of you can be comfortable driving safely.

 

If you’re a new driver given the freedom to commute to school every day, don’t take this responsibility lightly and follow these guidelines:

 

Stow your smartphone and any other distractions away. Throw them in the back seat if you have to.

Don’t carry passengers such as friends and siblings until you’re truly comfortable behind the wheel. According to AAA, having even one young passenger can increase a teen driver’s crash risk by 44%.

Wear your seat belt. It’s not only the law in most places, but it can also save your life.

 

Car crashes remain the leading cause of death for teens in the United States – all it takes is a little patience and focus to ensure you won’t become a part of that statistic.

Get Ready for More Traffic – Everywhere

 

While we normally associate the beginning of the school year with more traffic around schools, it’s also important to highlight the surge of traffic on freeways and roads as well. In September, commute times on freeways typically increase due to numerous factors, including commuter students heading to college and parents dropping off their children at schools at the same time of the day.

 

Account for this increased travel time and be more wary of traffic conditions. Freeway exits for colleges may cause traffic in the right lane to suddenly come to a halt, a perfect formula for an inconvenient fender bender or pile-up. More college students on the road also means more inexperienced drivers as well; be an example for them by maintaining a safe distance, using your turn signals properly, and obeying proper defensive driving etiquette.

 

Going back to school can be a drag for students and a godsend for parents sick of their kids, but a traffic collision or incident can be exponentially worse. Put your driver’s education to good use and drive safely on the road – and good luck to another school year!

Top 10 reasons why traffic crashes occur

Top 10 reasons why traffic crashes occur

 

Accidents occur every day and for a variety of reasons. You may think you know the top ten reasons why traffic accidents occur, however, you might be surprised by what you learn – In need of safety training? Visit our Texas online driver safety course.

 

  1. It is no surprise that the number one reason why accidents occur is distracted driving. With all of the technology today, allowing everyone to stay connected no matter where they are, it is no surprise that this technology found its way into the vehicle. Whether the driver is texting, eating food, or talking on cell phone, these distractions account for the majority of accidents on the road today.
  2. You might have guessed speeding as one of the top ten reasons for accidents, and you would be right. Many drivers today ignore the posted speed limits and often times drive 10, 20, and even 30 miles over the speed limit.
  3. While drunk driving has decreased, it is still a top reason for accidents. Drivers’ inability to focus and function properly behind the wheel can be very dangerous for not only the driver, but others on the road as well.
  4. Reckless driving causes many accidents, many which are fatal. Reckless drivers often speed, change lanes too quickly without proper signaling, tailgate, and more. These drivers are often impatient and are too aggressive on the road.
  5. Weather is often the culprit in an accident. Rain, snow, and ice can all play a part when it comes to handling your vehicle. Many drivers do not understand how to handle their vehicle during inclement weather.
  6. Many local accidents are caused by a driver running a red light. So many people are in a hurry or not paying attention while driving and will run a light. These accidents often are fatal, therefore caution should be used at all lights.
  7. Similar to running a red light, drivers will often run a stop sign. For the same reasons, these accidents are often serious and even fatal. Always look before proceeding through a stop sign.
  8. Unfortunately, teen drivers are one of the top reasons for car accidents. They often get lazy in their driving skills and will cause an accident. Not to mention that they are often distracted while driving for a variety of reasons.
  9. Driving at night is difficult for many, which is the cause of many accidents. You are taught in defensive driving to look ahead and plan or anticipate what is to come. At night this is difficult for many who cannot see properly, which can cause more accidents.
  10. Defects in vehicles is also a top ten cause of accidents. While many vehicle manufactures take every precaution to prevent defects, it does happen. You should always stay abreast of any recalls or defects in your vehicle and get those fixed as soon as possible.

 

NHTSA: Backup Cameras Must Be Standard by 2018

NHTSA: Backup Cameras Must Be Standard by 2018

 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) declared Monday that there must be “rear visibility technology in all new vehicles under 10,000 pounds by May 2018.” NHTSA’s ruling includes requirements for the camera’s field of view as well as durability, responsiveness and size of the displayed image.

 

According to NHTSA, “This new rule enhances the safety of these vehicles by significantly reducing the risk of fatalities and serious injuries caused by backover accidents.” The agency reports that about 210 people die every year as a result of being run over by a vehicle moving in reverse, 31 percent of who are children younger than five and 26 percent of who are adults 70 or older. There are an additional 15,000 injuries reported each year due to a person being hit by a reversing vehicle.

 

NHTSA’s ruling estimates that it will cost between $43 and $45 to install a camera on a vehicle with an appropriate display screen already installed and between $132 and $142 to install a rearview camera system on a vehicle that doesn’t yet have an acceptable display screen. Most new vehicles on the market today are available with a backup camera at least as an option, and on vehicles equipped with a navigation system, the backup camera display often appears on the primary screen housed in the center stack.

 

We recently reported on a study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety that concluded that backup cameras might be more effective at curbing rear-end collisions while reversing than vehicles equipped only with sound-emitting sensors or no backup technology at all.

 

Car and Driver adds that backup cameras allow for better visibility in busy parking lots and have made parallel parking for the publication’s staff easier and less prone to vehicle damage.

 

Some automakers are looking to expand camera use beyond just regular backup cameras. According to Automotive News, Tesla Motors and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which is comprised of 12 automakers, are petitioning for the government to drop the regulation that sideview mirrors be installed on vehicles, which would allow them to install camera technology in their place. “Tesla and the Alliance argue that cameras could be just as safe while offering gains in aerodynamics.” Automotive News adds that such aerodynamic improvements would help vehicles return better fuel economy.

Automatic Braking Could Soon Be Standard on All Cars

Automatic Braking Could Soon Be Standard on All Cars

 

Automatic braking technology could soon become standard equipment on all vehicles. This week, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommended that National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regulators make crash avoidance systems mandatory on all new cars sold due to its potential to save lives.

 

“Safety should be a basic feature rather than an option we have to purchase and that only the wealthier buyers can afford,” argues NTSB chairman Christopher Hart.

 

Automatic braking systems use a network of cameras and lasers to detect other vehicles while on the road. If a driver gets too close to another vehicle or pedestrian, the system will stop the car automatically. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the smart car tech reduces the incidence of crashes by 15 percent.

 

Of course, there’s a cost to this car safety technology. General Motors currently makes automatic braking available as an option as part of a larger $1,200 package; Toyota has begun rolling it out in their vehicles as an $300 to $500 option. That may seem like a lot of money, but it’s an investment in safety – the tech could save you from a far more expensive repair bill down the road. And while automatic braking is expensive now, it will only get cheaper as the tech evolves, advances and is mandated for inclusion in all vehicles.

 

No specific timeline has been announced for when, if ever, automatic brakes will be mandated on vehicles in the United States. In April 2014, the NHTSA issued a new rule requiring backup cameras on all new cars sold after May 2018. A rule requiring crash avoidance systems would likely have a similar timeline, so don’t expect the feature to become standard until the end of the decade.

Goodyear Developing an Electricity-Generating Tire

Goodyear Developing an Electricity-Generating Tire

We cover a lot of cool car tech here at 1SafeDriver, from self-driving cars to in-dash Android displays. But the latest innovation from Goodyear caught our eye because it’s both a smart idea and potentially good for the planet. As reported by Wired, the tire company is working on designing an electricity-generating tire.

 

 

The new concept tire, the BH-03, is designed to harvest energy in a number of different ways. First, it harnesses piezoelectricity, or the electric charge that builds up when pressure is applied to certain materials. It also attempts to harness thermoelectricity, which is generated when there’s a temperature differential in a material. Since the weight of a car adds a lot of pressure to tires, and friction generates a lot of uneven heat throughout, there’s the potential to capture a lot of power using smart tire design.

 

Of course, once you’ve designed a tire that generates electricity, the next step is to figure out how exactly to use the charge. Engineers could apply it to sensors that measure tire pressure and other data that relays back to a car’s computer. Or a connection could be created between the tire and hub to relay electricity to the car’s battery. That would be a great benefit to hybrids and electric vehicles.

 

The BH-03 tire is still highly experimental. Goodyear engineers don’t know yet exactly what materials would be best mix of elasticity and power generation, and they don’t know just how much electricity can be expected in real-world applications. And there’s no telling whether the BH-03 will make it to market in the next decade, if it makes it there at all. Still, the tech is undeniably cool. Hopefully all our cars will one day pull bonus electricity right out of thin air, just the way the folks at Goodyear intend.