No Tricks Just Treats

No time to read a long-winded BLOnG? Welcome to the Three-Second-Stop mini-Blog.

Today’s Three Seconds: Halloween Safety

3 Second StopAccording 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

US Rail Safety Week

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.

Get the Word Out

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.”

Vehicular Heatstroke

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.

Turning Left? There’s a Blinker for That

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

3 Second StopSignal 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.

Shake Those Moody Blues

Driving Attitude

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.

Two-Way Street

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.

Changing Time

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Today’s Three Seconds: Daylight Saving Time Begins

3 Second Stop
Daylight saving time begins at 2:00 AM Sunday, March 12, which means we’ll move our clocks forward and lose an hour of sleep. The change in time can put our bodies off-kilter and it can take a few days to adapt. Be careful of drowsiness that could affect your driving ability and how you react to road and traffic conditions.

Walk This Way

Pedestrian Safety

According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2014 a pedestrian was killed every 2 hours and injured every 8 minutes on average in U.S. traffic crashes.

While the number of total traffic fatalities has decreased over the last 10 years, the percentage of pedestrian traffic fatalities has increased.  In 2005, Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) reported 43,510 total traffic fatalities, 11% (4,892) of which were pedestrian fatalities.  In 2014, FARS reported 32,675 total traffic fatalities, 15% (4,884) of which were pedestrian deaths.

The rise in percentage of pedestrian deaths may be partly due to improvements to vehicle occupant protection and safety features.  While safer vehicles improve a passenger’s survival rate in a crash, a pedestrian still has no defense if struck by a vehicle.

Another pedestrian safety concern: distracted walking.  A Pew Research Center survey found that 53% of adult cellphone owners either had bumped into a person/object while using their phone or had been bumped into by another person distracted by their cellphone.  Distracted walking on or near a roadway can spell disaster.

Important Safety Reminders for Pedestrians:

  • Walk on a sidewalk or path when one is available.
  • If no sidewalk or path is available, walk on the shoulder, facing traffic. Stay alert; don’t be distracted by electronic devices, including smart phones, MP3 players, and other devices that take your eyes (and ears) off the road.
  • Be cautious night and day when sharing the road with vehicles. Never assume a driver sees you (he or she could be distracted, under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, or just not see you). Make eye contact with drivers as they approach.
  • Be predictable. Cross streets at crosswalks or intersections when possible. This is where drivers expect pedestrians.
  • If a crosswalk or intersection is not available, locate a well-lit area, wait for a gap in traffic that allows you enough time to cross safely, and continue to watch for traffic as you cross.
  • Be visible. Wear bright clothing during the day, and wear reflective materials or use a flash light at night.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs when walking; they impair your judgment and coordination.

Source: NHTSA’s Safety Countermeasures Division

New Phone Restrictions While Driving

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Today’s Three Seconds: California AB 1785 Effective Jan. 1, 2017

navigation-13 Second StopBeginning today, the rules as to how drivers can use a smartphone and other handheld devices just got a whole lot stricter. Besides not being able to write or read texts by hand, it is now illegal to “hold and operate” a handheld wireless telephone or electronic communications device for any reason while driving. Bottom line: If a driver in CA still wants to use a phone while driving, they can’t be holding it in-hand. Now the device must be mounted or affixed to the vehicle’s windshield, dashboard or center console without obstructing the view of the road, and the driver may only use a single swipe or tap of the finger to operate a function or feature on the device.

Note: This new law does not apply to manufacturer-installed systems that are embedded in a vehicle.

Learn more at https://www.dmv.ca.gov/.