Stop On Red 2020

National Stop on Red Week starts this Sunday, August 2 and runs through August 8. Red-light running is extremely dangerous.  Red-light runners cause hundreds of deaths and tens of thousands of injuries each year. Together, we can put a halt to the crashes, injuries and fatalities. Make the choice to stay alert and help people stay alive.

Look Before You Park

Colored Curbs


Recently I noticed a couple vehicles attempting to park next to a red painted curb, which in California is a big no-no. Curb markings are painted different colors to indicate what type of parking, if any, is permitted. California curb colors and their meanings are as follows:

  • Red: Parking, stopping, or standing is PROHIBITED at all times, except a bus may stop in a red zone marked or posted as a bus loading zone.
  • White: Reserved for very brief stops for the purpose of loading or unloading passengers or depositing mail in an adjacent mailbox.
  • Blue: Parking is permitted for vehicles displaying disabled placards or license plates.
  • Green: Reserved for vehicles to park for a limited amount of time. Look for time limits painted on the curb or on a sign posted next to the green zone.
  • Yellow: Loading Zones usually reserved for commercial vehicles. Drivers may stop only long enough to unload passengers or freight. Drivers of non-commercial vehicles are usually required to stay with the vehicle.

Parking regulations and the use of colored curbs are set by local authorities. To find out designated curb colors near you, be sure to familiarize yourself with your local and state laws.

Labor Day Weekend

 
 
Summer is drawing to a close. For many families the Labor Day weekend is a time for one last road trip before getting back into the school year groove. More people on the roads means greater potential for something to go wrong. While you enjoy your holiday please be vigilant behind the wheel and remember to:

  • Stay alert and drive defensively
  • Wear your seat belt
  • Drive sober
  • Avoid drowsy driving
  • Avoid driving distractions

Temperature Rising

 

‘Look Before You Lock’ PSA from KidsAndCars.org is a good reminder to not leave children in cars in order to avoid heatstroke fatalities. In a new study, Consumer Reports found that, “Even on days with mild temperatures, the heat inside a closed vehicle can reach dangerous levels within an hour, posing major health risks to small children or pets left inside.”

For additional tips and information, check out our past posts Vehicular Heatstroke and Supervision Required.

Holiday Travels and Aggressive Driving

 

An interesting report from GasBuddy found that Americans tend to drive 175% more aggressively during the holidays. GasBuddy looked at the number of instances quick accelerating, hard braking, and speeding occurred during the Thanksgiving holiday (November 21 – 25, 2018). The results showed that these aggressive driving events happened most often on the day leading up to the holiday. Aggressive driving is not only dangerous, it is also hard on your gas consumption. This is something to keep in mind with upcoming holiday travels. Some tips for your holiday trips: Plan ahead so you have plenty of time to reach your destination. Take a deep breath, relax, and drive with courtesy. Our goal should be for us all to get where we are going safely. Drive safe and have a happy holiday season!

Terror on the Highway

Wrong Way Drivers

Having a driver who is driving right towards you at highway speeds is not only scary, but is also extremely dangerous. According to the Federal Highway Administration, in the US, wrong-way driving crashes result in 300 to 400 people killed each year on average, which represent about 1% of the total number of traffic related fatalities. Though the percentage is low, wrong-way crashes on divided highways are much more likely to result in fatal and serious injuries because they involve high speed, head-on collisions.

In a study, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) found that driving while impaired by alcohol is the primary cause of wrong-way driving collisions, with more than 60 percent of wrong-way collisions caused by drivers impaired by alcohol. They also found that wrong-way collisions occur most often at night and during the weekends, and they tend to take place in the lane closest to the median.

Tips for dealing with a wrong way driver start with defensive driving basics:

  • Always use your seat belts. A seat belt is the single most important safety equipment feature of your vehicle, but in order for safety belts to work, they must be worn properly and at all times while driving. A lap and shoulder belt worn properly increase your chances of surviving a collision by 3 to 4 times than if you are unrestrained.
  • Scan for hazards. Keep your eyes moving and remember to look further down the road. Scanning enables your eyes to take in the whole scene, enabling you to identify a hazard before it becomes a last-second crisis. You should also be constantly looking for an escape route or somewhere to go if you encounter a problem or hazard on the road.
  • Don’t drive distracted. Don’t allow yourself to become distracted by your cell phone, eating, drinking or even your kids. When you take focus off of driving, you increase the time it takes you to react to problems on the road, which will in turn increase your chances of getting into a collision.
  • At night, stay to the right side of the road, in the right lanes and avoid driving in the fast lane, or lane closed to the median, especially if your view is blocked by curves or hills.

If you do see a wrong way driver, then:

  • Reduce your speed and move to the right lane or shoulder as quickly as you can without losing control of your car. Once the wrong way driver has safely passed you, be sure to notify the authorities.
  • If you can’t move out of the wrong way driver’s path, avoid being hit head-on by turning your car sideways. Head on collisions have the highest fatality rate, so if you are going to get hit, it is better to be hit at an angle, if possible at or behind the rear wheels, than taking the full force of the crash head-on.

Changing Lanes

S.M.O.G. Technique

Many drivers have a problem with changing lanes safely. The S.M.O.G. technique is meant to help remind you of the steps to take when planning a lane change. S.M.O.G. simply means:

  • Signal: Indicate your intentions to let other drivers know you plan on making a move before you actually do it.
  • Mirror: Check your mirrors to make sure that there is no traffic approaching from the rear.
  • Over-the-shoulder: Glance over your shoulder to make sure your blind spot is clear.
  • Go: When you’ve determined the lane is clear, gradually change lanes remembering to maintain your speed so that you don’t interfere with the traffic already in the intended lane.

Don’t forget to look ahead to anticipate and avoid traffic hazards. Before changing lanes, check the direction of travel and watch out for traffic coming from the opposite direction.