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Springfield Virginia Motor Vehicle Accidents Blog

Auto engineers hope AI can reduce distracted driving crashes

Modern technologies like smartphones and in-vehicle infotainment systems are increasing the risk of distracted driving accidents in Virginia and nationwide. However, auto engineers hope they can fight technology with technology and make U.S. roads safer.

According to a 2016 study, almost 50% of American drivers admit to sending or receiving texts, using smartphone GPS apps or browsing social media sites while driving. Given those results, it is little surprise the National Safety Council reports that nine people are killed and 100 others are injured in distracted driving crashes across the U.S. each day. To cut down on crashes, automakers have been adding technologies like forward collision avoidance and automatic emergency braking systems as options on new vehicles for several years. In fact, these systems will come standard on all new cars and trucks by 2022.

Tips for avoiding a car accident in winter

Wintertime is an especially bad time for car accidents in some parts of Virginia, so motorists will want to consider the following tips on safe driving. First of all, they can avoid accidents by not going outdoors until it's necessary. When they have to, they must slow down. When snow is on the ground, the tires will lose their traction, and the lack of road grip will affect braking as well.

Drivers should accelerate slowly and brake gradually to a stop so as to prevent skidding. They should, of course, be familiar with how ABS works along with electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assist. Since braking distances go up in snowy or rainy weather, they should make sure to keep a good distance from the car in front.

AAA warns drivers of drowsiness after DST ends

In anticipation of the end of daylight saving time, AAA is warning people in Virginia and across the U.S. of the danger of drowsy driving. One might think that an extra hour of sleep will reduce the chances of drowsy driving, but the change in the sleep schedule will have an impact on the body's internal clock. Drivers may have trouble concentrating on the road in the days subsequent to this change.

What increases the risk for drowsiness is that many will stay up later than usual the night before daylight saving time ends. AAA recommends, on the contrary, that everyone go to bed at the time they normally would. Drowsy driving, it should be pointed out, is behind approximately 328,000 car crashes every year in this country. Approximately 6,400 people die and 50,000 incur debilitating injuries in these crashes, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

Serious injuries can come from blunt force trauma in a car wreck

Car wrecks lead to a variety of injuries, including blunt traumas to the body. While it might seem like these aren't very serious, they can cause damage to the tissues and organs. This can lead to life-threatening problems that require immediate medical care.

Blunt force trauma can come from a variety of things in the vehicle. The risk of this increases if a person doesn't have a seat belt on when they are in a car wreck, but even the seat belt can lead to injuries. Some types of damage that might occur include fractures, internal organ damage, lacerations, bruising, and pressure-related injuries.

The safety benefits of roundabouts

Motorists in Virginia and throughout America may not necessarily be familiar with roundabouts. Furthermore, they may seem more complicated and dangerous than a traditional intersection at first glance. However, data from the Federal Highway Administration revealed that there was a 37% decline in accidents when a road had a roundabout instead of a traffic light. This was largely because accidents occurred at slower rates of speed. Therefore, they were less intense and less likely to result in fatalities or property damage.

The FHWA data also determined that there was a 40% decrease in pedestrian accidents on roundabouts compared to traditional intersections. Finally, there was a 90% drop in fatal crashes according to the numbers compiled by the FHWA. Other benefits to this type of road feature include less time stuck idling in traffic as well as lower insurance rates because accidents occur less frequently.

Teen drivers and distractions

Thousands of teen drivers are killed or injured in car accidents around the country each year, and many of them are distracted when they crash. Cellphone use is widely regarded as the leading cause of driver distraction in Virginia and elsewhere, but researchers at Michigan State University found that teen motorists are more likely to be involved in a collision when their attention is caught by something outside the vehicle like an accident or police traffic stop.

The researchers came to this conclusion after studying how 3,400 drivers behaved behind the wheel between 2011 and 2013. Instruments mounted inside vehicles monitored the drivers, and their behavior was then sorted into more than 60 categories. The cause of motor vehicle accidents was then determined based on the data collected and police incident reports. The researchers paid particularly close attention to cellphone use and noted whether the devices were being used to make phone calls or send text messages in the moments before a crash.

Arkansas, Louisiana, Montana have most teen drunk drivers

Teens in Arkansas are more likely to drink and drive than teens in other states, according to a report by an insurance comparison website. Federal statistics show that drunk driving deaths account for one-third of all U.S. traffic fatalities each year.

For the report, researchers examined data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's High School Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System to find out which states have the most teen drunk drivers. They found that 10.7% of Arkansas teens admitted to drinking and driving within the previous 30 days, which was the highest percentage in the U.S.

Study shows increased speed limits related to higher deaths

As Virginia and other states continue to raise speed limits, roadway safety groups grow more concerned. A study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety determined approximately 37,000 more people have lost their lives in accidents due to raising the speed limit.

Researchers discovered that motor vehicle accidents with fatalities increased by 8.5% for every 5 mph increase over the last 25 years. Considering that car manufacturers have increased performance and safety functions on most vehicles produced, researchers speculate that the number of fatalities could be worse. However, even with advances in car safety, increased speed limits continue to affect roadway deaths.

Fall driving presents unique risks

Fall weather can lead to unpredictable conditions on the road. A sunny, clear day can change in a matter of moments to cold and rainy. With shorter fall days, drivers are more likely to find themselves driving in the dark, which can be more dangerous than daytime driving. To stay safe on the road during fall driving, drivers should prepare for potential hazards like sun glare, frost and fog.

Fall is a time when sun glare is more likely to distract drivers or affect their ability to see while on the road. If the sun is in front of the vehicle, the glare can come in directly and impact the driver. When the sun is behind the driver, sun glare can reflect off of traffic lights or the rearview mirror. Drivers often say they are blinded following sun glare exposure, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Texting and driving: Is it really that dangerous?

You hear people tell you that texting and driving is dangerous. Maybe you see commercials and public service announcements. If you're a teenage driver, maybe they tell you during driver's training. Maybe parents or friends bring it up. If you're a married adult, maybe your spouse tells you never to text behind the wheel.

You know that people believe it's dangerous, yet you can't help but question their perspective. After all, you have texted in the car for years. You started in college, before you even had a smartphone. You had to use T9 texting. Now, with your current smartphone, it's easier than ever. In that entire time, you have never gotten into an accident. Is it really that dangerous?

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