Thursday, January 16, 2014

2013 Crash Factoids - Part II

Monday's blog highlighted the reduction of accident's during 2012, and now we want to share with you information on what the top causes of those accidents were. 

It's no surprise that "Inattentive Driving" is leading the pack again this year and it's not even close. 

12.04.103 Inattentive Driving

No person shall operate a vehicle in an inattentive manner. Inattentive operation of a vehicle is defined as operation of a vehicle without due regard for the road, weather and traffic conditions and other attendant circumstances then existing.

Eating, talking on a cell phone, reading the newspaper, shaving or putting on make-up, or fumbling with the car stereo can all fall under the umbrella of inattentive driving.

1. Inattention 1040
2. Following to Close 605
3. Failure to Yield 531
4. Too Fast for Conditions 379
5. Improper Lane Change 213
6. Under the Influence 131
7. Red Light Running 125
8 Improper Backing 104

Here are some common sense tips from KDOT to help reduce your chances of becoming a motor vehicle accident statistic:

Cell Phones
Cell phones are nice conveniences, but can potentially be deadly. In fact, they are the underlying cause of many crashes. One solution: find a safe place to park before you answer that call. Likewise, if you must make an outgoing call. Another solution: have your incoming cell phone calls routed to your voice mail or message machine until you safely arrive at your destination. "Hands-free" systems are certainly safer, but even these can distract you from the key task at hand—driving. 

Fast Food
OK, we all have to eat…but don’t do it while driving down the road. Searching for that napkin, trying to open that ketchup container or the split second you take to grab a French fry is all it takes. 

Blaring music can prevent you from being able to hear sirens from emergency vehicles, train whistles and the horns of other drivers who may be trying to alert you. 

Lighting up or putting out a cigarette can distract you. So can flicking hot ashes on yourself or dropping a lit cigarette on yourself or on the floor of your vehicle. Smoke can irritate your eyes, causing blurred vision. If you smoke while you drive, be especially careful and realize its potential to distract you. Also remember that smoke-buildup on windows can distort vision. So if you’re a smoker, clean your interior window surfaces frequently.

Slowing down to look at accidents, police cars that have pulled someone over, even looking at articles for sale along the road can cause crashes. Slowing down to gawk at the "action" can affect the driver behind you, who might also be rubbernecking and not realize your car has slowed down.

Loose articles 
Empty pop cans. CD’s. Books. Come to a quick stop and these and similar items start rolling around. If something happens to lodge beneath your brake pedal or your gas pedal, it can become a disastrous situation. Check your car before you drive. Remove or secure any loose articles, which can become projectiles in the event of a crash.

Children and Pets
Dealing with children and/or pets can be extremely distracting, especially if they are crying, fighting, barking and the like. Insist children are buckled securely in their seat belts (or if under the age of four in their child seat). Separate older children if necessary to keep them from squabbling. Provide them with a book to read or a game to play if they are going to be in the car for an extended period. In the case of pets, always use a pet carrier. Nothing can be more frightening—or dangerous—than to have a pet suddenly jump into your lap and impede your ability to steer or see.

Long Trips
It may sound strange, but driving for long periods of time can also trigger driver inattention. Monotony—driving behind the same vehicles, at the same speed for long distances—can lead to road hypnosis, which dulls the senses and makes a driver accident-prone. So, during longer trips, vary your speed from time to time and take frequent, short breaks to keep yourself refreshed and alert. If you tend to tire while driving long distances, keep fresh orange rinds next to you. The smell of citrus has been found to help drivers stay alert. Also, if you have licensed passengers in your vehicle, ask if they can take the wheel for a while so you can take a break.