Cannabis Use in Vehicles
Effective January 1, 2018, the California vehicle code has been updated to make it illegal to smoke or ingest marijuana or any marijuana product when driving or riding as a passenger in a vehicle. Drugged driving laws have been in place for many years, but this law specifically addresses the use of cannabis products while driving.
Marijuana and driving don’t mix. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), marijuana negatively affects a number of skills required for safe driving, such as slow reaction time and your ability to make decisions. The California Office of Traffic Safety states that the effects of marijuana are strongest during the first hour of use and driving right after using marijuana could double your risk of being in a crash. The National Institute on Drug Abuse also notes that after alcohol, marijuana is the drug most often found in the blood of drivers involved in crashes.
So please remember, driving under the influence of drugs, even legal drugs, is not only unsafe, but is also a crime.
Another year is coming to a close and we at TrafficSchool.com would like to thank you for your business and pass on a wish for you in the New Year. We hope the upcoming year will be happy and healthy for you and yours. Wishing you all the best in 2018 and please remember to drive yourself and those you love safely.
Scanning the Road
Sometimes we take driving for granted. With each uneventful drive we make, we begin to let our guard down. We start picking up bad habits like zoning out and staring at the bumper of the car in front of us. The problem with this is driving is always potentially dangerous and a routine drive can change in the blink of an eye.
A big part to driving defensively is using your eyes. A defensive driver actively scans the road ahead, checks to the left and right and glances in their mirrors regularly. Continuous eye movement will increase your awareness and give you more time to react in a hazardous situation. In addition to watching around your car, it is also good to look farther down the road. By spotting problems early, you will have time to make necessary adjustments in advance to avoid them.
No time to read a long-winded BLOnG? Welcome to the Three-Second-Stop mini-Blog.
Today’s Three Seconds: Halloween Safety
According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “October 31st is one of the most dangerous nights of the year because of the deadly combination of alcohol and increased pedestrian traffic.” When you are out driving this Halloween be extra vigilant; slow down and stay alert, especially in areas pedestrians are likely to be. Things to look out for:
- Small children that may dart into the street
- Pedestrians in dark clothing
- Party-goers walking while intoxicated
- Stopped vehicles that may be unloading passengers
September 24 – 30, 2017
The fourth week of September marks the first national Rail Safety Week. The U.S. Department of Transportation and other associations aim to educate the public and remind us that railroads are dangerous. Did you know railways and rail yards are private property? Each year, around 1,000 people are killed or injured trespassing on or near railroads.
Some things to keep in mind next time you encounter train tracks:
Never cross tracks anywhere other than a public crossing and even then, only cross when it is safe to do so.
In an average year, there are approximately 2,500 collisions between trains and motor vehicles, resulting in roughly 250 people killed and 1,000 more injured.
Never try to beat a train or try to go around or under closed crossing gates.
A typical train takes over a mile to come to a complete stop and the majority of vehicle-train crashes occur when the train is traveling at speeds between 40-49 mph.
Communication on the Road
Communication with other drivers on the road is very important. Using standard equipment on your car, like turn signals, brake lights, hazard lights, headlights, and your horn, are all simple yet effective ways of telling everyone else what you intend to do next. Communication on the road can also be characterized by conveying your intentions to others through eye contact, body language, and hand signals, while simultaneously picking up on cues from other drivers and pedestrians.
Non-verbal interaction with other road users can help make the roadways much safer. For instance, you may notice another driver continuously looking over their shoulder. This is usually a good indication that they want to change lanes, and you can help by giving them the space they need. Or perhaps you have stopped at an intersection and a pedestrian is at the street corner. Making eye contact and a simple nod of your head is often enough to tell the pedestrian, “I see you are going to cross the street.”
On average in the United States, 37 children die from heatstroke each year as a result of being left in a vehicle. Between 1990 and 2016 there have been a total of 793 vehicular heatstroke deaths. Over half (55%) are a result of being left behind unknowingly by a parent or caregiver. Another 28% occurred due to a child getting into the vehicle on their own.
According to KidsAndCars.org, 27 children have died in hot cars so far this year. The KidsAndCars.org safety campaign, “Look Before You Lock,” provides parents and caregivers an important safety checklist aimed at preventing heatstroke tragedies.
Avoid leaving your child alone in the car:
- Get in the habit of always opening the back door and checking the back seat before leaving your vehicle.
- Put something you will need, like a purse or a cell phone, in the back seat so you will have to open the back door to get it once you are parked.
- Keep a stuffed animal in baby’s car seat. Each time your child is in the car seat, put the stuffed animal in the front seat as a reminder that baby is in the car.
- Ask your child care provider to call if you have not dropped your child off as usual.
Make sure your child can’t get into your car:
- Keep your vehicle locked at all times, even in your garage or driveway.
- Keep your keys and clickers in a safe place out of your child’s reach.
- If your child goes missing, check inside your vehicle and trunk right away.
No time to read a long-winded BLOnG? Welcome to the Three-Second-Stop mini-Blog.
Today’s Three Seconds: Signals: The Unsung Hero of the Highways
Signal Lamps, when used properly, tell other drivers that you plan to turn or to change lanes. Use your signals at least 100 feet prior to making a turn and activate your turn signal at least 5 seconds before changing lanes to allow other drivers to adjust their actions accordingly. When you are turning at an intersection, be very careful not to signal too early if there are other places to turn before the intersection. Another driver may think you intend to turn somewhere else, and could pull out in front of you.
Your mental and emotional state can significantly affect your actions while driving. If you bring a bad attitude into the car with you, it will cloud your driving decisions. Stress and emotions can hijack your mind and you may find yourself unaware of your driving environment or over-reacting to another driver’s bad driving behavior.
Having a positive, courteous attitude, and driving with your own safety, as well as other’s safety in mind, is key to making safe driving decisions. When behind the wheel, put aside negative thoughts that enter your mind and concentrate on driving instead. If you ever feel like you are having a bad day, or you just can’t shake your problems, avoid driving until you feel better.
Center Left-Turn Lane Use
If a street has a center left turn lane, you must use it to when making a left turn or U-turn. As the name would suggest, a center left turn lane is found in the middle of a two-way street. It has two yellow painted lines on either side, broken lines on the inside and solid lines on the outside, and is used by traffic traveling in both directions. The center left turn lane is not a passing lane and you may only drive for 200 feet in this lane.
To turn left from this lane, signal, look over your shoulder, and drive completely into the center lane (do not leave any part of your vehicle blocking the traffic lane). Also, watch for vehicles coming toward you in the same lane, preparing to start their left turn. Wait in the center lane until a gap in the traffic allows you to complete the left turn safely. If you are making a left turn onto a busy street, you may enter this lane to complete your turn before merging into traffic.