Tag Archives: safe driving

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Driver Fatigue: Defend Yourself From This Silent Killer

Whether you’ve just bought a new car and you want to tame your beast with a long interstate journey across some scenic country roads, or whether you’ve dedicated yourself to driving for a living, it’s important to guard against driver fatigue. Most serious drivers have a well deserved confidence in their own abilities but this may cause them to become cavalier to the very real dangers of driving while tired. It’s not uncommon to tell ourselves we’ll stop at the next service stop only to push onward when we get there because we’re making such good time. Even if you feel perfectly alert, your senses can deceive you, and you could leave yourself vulnerable to a serious incident.

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The scope of the problem

Driver fatigue deserves to be taken seriously, especially if you drive a heavy goods vehicle for a living. These trucks weigh around 25 times more than a typical passenger car, causing catastrophic damage to the driver, rig and other road users in the case of an incident. The US Department of Transportation estimates that almost 4,000 deaths are caused by truck accidents every year, with driver fatigue often cited as a leading cause. Unless you want to have to answer some difficult questions from a truck accident attorney, you must take steps to combat fatigue when on the road. Fortunately this is pretty easily done.

Stay hydrated

Okay, you may need to take more rest stops if you’re drinking a lot of water but the benefits outweigh this pretty minor inconvenience. Drinking lots of water (not coffee, not energy drinks, water) is a vital way of preventing not only the inevitable fatigue of long distance driving but the tension headaches and muscle cramps that can arise from long periods spent on the road. Drinking lots of water will also keep you focused and alert and better equipped to deal with problems as and when they occur.

Eat healthily

Yeah, so the deck is stacked pretty heavily against you on this one but service stops are getting better and better at stocking up on healthy foods that will keep you alert and ready while also ensuring that all those hours sitting at the wheel don’t impact negatively on your waistline.

Try not to get lured in by the array of candy bars, soda and donuts usually on offer. These may give you a quicky sugar rush, but after a while your energy levels will come crashing down, you’ll be sluggish and unresponsive at the wheel. Instead opt for whole nuts, lean protein sources and fresh fruits and vegetables to keep your energy levels stable.

Cut back on caffeine

A cup of joe has seen many a driver through a long night behind the wheel but when you’re lurching sluggishly from one latte to the next, you’re setting yourself up for a series of highs and crashes. Caffeine might make you feel more awake and alert but it’s a deceptive illusion. Caffeine metabolizes pretty quickly, and blocks your receptors for adenosine (an important neurotransmitter). As the adenosine builds up, your fatigue increases making you more and more sluggish between coffees. Caffeine also gives you an extra shot of adrenaline with your espresso, which can increase your blood pressure, and cause anxiety that cause you to drive erratically.

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Minor Driving Mistakes That Cost You Majorly (That We ALL Do)

No matter how long we have been driving, some habits can take a long time to iron out, unless you do it for a living of course!  But for the vast majority of us when it comes to our driving skills, we mainly rely on the car to get from A to B, do we necessarily think about every aspect of how we drive? So, it begs the question, what are we all guilty of that we do every day, that we maybe don’t think about that may cause a lot of trouble for us or our fellow motorists down the line?

Not Paying Attention To The Road

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While we all think we are paying a decent amount of attention to the road while driving, the fact is that distracted driving is a primary cause of accidents now. You only have to look at the amount of people who have caused crashes by operating their cell phones while driving. And also with the amount of gadgets in the modern car, there’s a lot more to contribute to our level of distracted driving. Now, operating a phone while driving is as dangerous as drink driving and you wouldn’t do that! So if you ever find yourself drifting off, attention-wise, you should think about checking your reaction times. Are you as focused on the road as you think you are?

Improper Driving In Wet Conditions

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Wikimedia

A lot of us don’t bother to slow down or are just are driving as normal when the weather gets wet. The first 10 minutes of rain is when the road is the most dangerous, this is because the oil that has built up on the dry road is now loosened, making the roads very slippery. And this is where accidents can be caused, and if you were to make a case for a diminished value claim due to car damage, or somebody ran into the back of you in wet weather, the chances are they ignored the sensible advice to slow down. Any sign of rain can cause slipperiness on the road, so as soon as it starts, be sure to apply the brake.

Looking At The Wrong Part Of The Road

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This is very evident when you’re driving in an area that you’re not used to, if you’re looking for road signs and speed limits, you are not looking directly in front of you. A common issue is swerving out of a lane, and this can be a big problem if you are trying to find the right exit, or looking everywhere around you apart from on the road. The best advice in regards to this is to make sure you have someone keeping an eye out for you, or if that’s not possible pull over when it is safe to do so and reassess your directions, or have your GPS to hand.

These three mistakes can have a major impact on your skills as a driver, and they are things that most of us do, so make sure you are as safe as possible, and rectify these problems before you cause a major accident.

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Worried About Your Kids Behind The Wheel? Don’t Be! Cars Have Never Been Safer!

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It can be scary for any parent to send their kid out into the world behind the wheel of a car. Sure, they’ve passed their test, and you’ve driven with them, so you know how safe they are, but that doesn’t stop the anxiety from creeping up your spine when you first see them pulling out of the driveway. You trust them to be responsible behind the wheel, but there are still so many risks out there that it’s only natural that you feel somewhat worried about them. However, there is some good news! The truth is that cars have never been safer than they are today and your kids are in far less danger in their first few years of driving than you were. Here are just a few of the reasons why modern drivers are far safer than previous generations.

Strict testing

One of the reasons that older cars were so dangerous is that many manufacturers simply weren’t aware of how they would act when put under the kind of pressure that results from an accident. However, in the modern age, there are entire departments of car manufacturers that are explicitly dedicated to smashing cars into tiny pieces to see exactly what they can withstand. This information allows manufacturers to adjust the way they build cars in order to make them as safe as possible.

New materials

One of the best things about modern cars, from a safety standpoint, is just how light they are. That might sound counterintuitive, but it really does make a big difference. Older cars were huge, heavy things that were actually so tough that all of the energy from a crash went straight into the passengers. However, new cars are made from lightweight steel and carbon fiber which allows areas of the car to absorb impact much more effectively. This means that passengers are actually much safer and that something that might have been a fatal crash thirty years ago is now little more than a bump on the road.

Greater skills and understanding

As with any other area of engineering, methods for keeping cars running are constantly being updated and developed. Because of that mechanics have never been more skilled or better informed. While you might once have been worried about how well a mechanic was going to take care of your vehicle, you now know that taking your car to somewhere like AME Auto Services means that it’s in good hands. Not only that but thanks to the internet you and your teenager have access to huge amounts of information on how to keep their car running at all times.

Of course, there are still risks involved every time your kids get out onto the road. However, it’s important to remember that the independence and maturity that comes with their first car is something that every teenager has to go through and you should be as supportive as possible. Even if they end up getting into a fender bender here and there, at least you know that they’ll be safe.