Drivers in New York may be worried about the impact of distracted driving on road safety. Despite warnings, public awareness campaigns and new laws, people continue to text, surf and chat on their smartphones while behind the wheel of their cars. Even public officials have been seen live streaming on Facebook while driving. However, the families of people who have been killed in crashes due to distracted driving are demanding tougher penalties and harsher enforcement for operating a vehicle while distracted.
Car safety tech can cut down on crashes by 40 percent and crash-related fatalities by 30 percent, according to federal estimates. Yet it can backfire on drivers who do not understand its limitations. This overreliance on safety tech, which can be seen in many drivers across New York, is the subject of a AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety report. The results raise questions about how drivers will adapt to a future of semiautonomous vehicles.
Hydroplaning is a common hazard whenever it rains in New York. Drivers probably know the basics behind it: a thin layer of water, pushed under by the pressure in the front of the vehicle's tires, develops under the tires and causes the vehicle to float above the road. The thicker that layer becomes, the more the tires lose their traction and increase the risk for uncontrollable skidding and sliding.
New York drivers may be intrigued by the results of a study conducted by Volvo and the Harris Poll about distracted driving, how many people engage in it and how they perceive it. It is broken up into two studies involving 2,000 participants in the U.S. More than 50 percent, regardless of age, felt that they need to refocus because they find they are more distracted than they were five years ago.
Roundabouts can be an effective deterrent to car accidents in rural areas, especially as compared to straightaways with stop signs. New York readers who drive long distances or frequently drive in rural areas might be interested to learn that more roundabouts are being implemented. Roundabouts force drivers to slow down, reducing the severity of accidents. They may be more effective than red, yellow and green traffic signals.
In New York and around the country, all teenagers must drive under adult supervision before going for their license. One might think that teen drivers pose a greater threat to others on the road before, not after, they obtain their license. A study from the National Institutes for Health and Virginia Tech University, however, came to the opposite conclusion.
Collision avoidance systems, multiple in-car airbags and other advanced features are making cars safer than ever in New York. However, as long as there is a human factor behind the wheel, accidents will happen. The Highway Loss Data Institute has some data regarding 2014 to 2016 vehicle models that can be eye-opening to some.
New York residents who plan to live it up on the Fourth of July should keep that many accidents take place on during the holiday. The greatest risk is on the roads; both Esurance and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety state that 40 percent of all highway deaths between 2007 and 2011 occurred because of drunk drivers over the extended July Fourth weekend. During this several-day period, there are approximately 200 highway deaths every year.
Many drivers in New York and throughout the U.S. may be open to devices that could help them break away from their smartphones when behind the wheel. It may seem ironic that technology would solve a problem that it initiated, but there are several new devices that could help reduce the number of car accidents attributed to distracted driving.
New York motorists who drive drowsy could have a similar experience to those who drive drunk. Driving after staying awake for 24 consecutive hours is similar to driving with a blood alcohol content of .10 percent. That is above the .08 percent threshold states use to determine if a driver is legally drunk. One difference between tired and drunk drivers is that a drunk driver may try to drive slowly and avoid obstacles.