An Evening Without a Car

It Pays to be Careful on the Road – Be A Responsible Driver

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Of all the people who die each year, forty thousand are related to road and vehicular accidents.  This number does not include the injuries that resulted from vehicular accidents.  It does, however, include the number of innocent bystanders who were, without their permission, involved in the accident with fatal consequences.

Vehicle related injuries have always been a problem within the US.  It is a known fact that the government has done and is still doing what it can to reduce the numbers of road related deaths.  Information campaigns have been religiously broadcast to keep all drivers informed of road safety, rules beneficial for all drivers have been set so that they may be adhered to, even the basic license exam for drivers is there to make sure that all people on the road know how to drive.  These things are all focused at reducing the risk of being on the road.  And yet, as a response people: ignore these information campaigns but switching channels when these are aired, break the speed limit because they think its constricting and try to cheat the driver’s test to get a license.

Everyone knows that getting on the road is dangerous.  Everyone also knows that for each group of a million drivers, there’s a good percentage in that group who believe that they are supermen and that they can’t be hurt when they are driving in the car because they are extremely good drivers with extremely good reflexes.  Consider though: professional race car drivers are supposed to be the best in the world, with a lot of experience behind the wheel and with reflexes tested by time.  Notice though that every time they get into a car, they mutter a short prayer or something similar just to make sure that they finish the race alive.

One might say that race car drivers really do have a hazardous occupation, and that the example is not a valid comparison.  Then consider this: speeding is a race against time in order to get to a location faster.  Whenever you pump the gas pedal and try to go faster than all the rest on the road, you’re no longer using the vehicle as a means to get from point A to point B.  You’re now turning it into a race, endangering both you and those around you in the process.

And it doesn’t take much to get into an accident.  Of all the listed causes for vehicular accidents, the top reason is distracted driving.  And it doesn’t say that the person at the wheel was distracted for over a minute, hence the accident.  The distractions are really small things such as: a) talking over the phone while driving (even if the loudspeaker is on), b) responding to a text message, c) reaching for something that fell from the driver’s grasp, d) eating a sandwich, e) checking out the hot chick on the sidewalk… and the list goes on.  These things just distract the driver for a few moments, take their eyes off of the road for a few seconds, and the accident happens.

Some might say that this could not happen to them, and that they are extremely careful.  If that is the truth, well and good.  It is however no reason to get cocky because again, a good number of the people involved in accidents were not even part of the event.  They just happened to be at the wrong place when a thoughtless driver plowed through and caused an accident.

So what may be done to avoid road accidents?  The following are some ideas to consider in order to keep you and your loved ones safe when on the road.

1)      Keep to the speed limit – No matter what statistics say, speed is always part of the equation during an accident.  Speed limits are assigned to areas depending on how good the road is.  Keep to the limit, do not go over.

2)      Stay focused – Again, the top cause of road fatalities is distracted driving.  Keep your eyes on the road, and keep your conversation with the passengers to a minimum.  That concentration may give the you, the driver, the few seconds needed to identify a potential problem and take the necessary steps to avoid it.

3)      Use the Seatbelt – There are several laws that enforce this, and this must be one of the wisest laws on the road.  The seatbelt keeps the driver in the driver’s seat no matter what happens.  Should the car go into a skid, the driver would not be tossed around but be held in place.  With luck and experience, he or she could regain control of the car.

The seatbelt is also good for the passengers, especially if the passenger is a child.  It’s always good to strap your child in and know that he or she can’t go around the car, pick stuff up and ruin the upholstery. Frees your mind to pay attention to the road.

4)      Take care of your car – Keep the engine tuned, and make sure to check the tires.  The engine will make sure that your response time is good, while the tires will make sure that your commands will be followed. Worn tires tend to have a bad grip on the road, and this would result in your vehicle skidding to a stop when you hammer on the brakes.

5)      Be extra careful at intersections – This has to be done, especially when the green light just came on. There is always a driver trying to beat the yellow light, and even though he is wrong, should an accident occur then you both lose.

6)      Spread out – Good advice, especially on hi-ways.  Most accidents happen between two vehicles, not between a vehicle and an inanimate object.  Put a good ten meters between you and the next car on a clear day.  Add another ten if it’s raining.  This distance will provide you with precious seconds should anything happen to the car ahead of you.

Road safety is everyone’s concern, and if everyone were just conscious of the need to be cautious every second on the road, then the number of deaths due to road accidents would decrease dramatically.

Time to Check the Brakes – Signs for Brake Care

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It is arguable that the most important system in your car is the braking system.  This is the system that you depend on most to get yourself out of trouble.  Although a lot of other drivers will say that one should also use the steering wheel in order to avoid a collision, the regular driver will always resort to the brake when wanting to avoid a collision.

Automobile makers have taken note of this, and in order to make the cars safer, they have improved on the braking system and added several other parts that would make the brake function more efficiently.  We do have to remember the basics of mechanics at this point though.  The more the moving parts in a machine, the greater the probability of failure.  No, don’t get it wrong.  This just means that although the braking systems in cars now function better than ever, they also need a lot of care to make sure that they function properly.

Aside from adding more components to the brake, manufacturers have also added a system to detect if something is wrong.  On the dashboard of your car, you may see a red light that you may interpret as a can of fuel.  No, that is not the indicator for you to gas up.  It’s the light that tells you one of two things.  Either a) you need to add break fluid, or b) you need to change your break pads.  Either will still have you running to your local mechanic because the lack of break fluid may indicate a hole in the system.  As for the break pads, leave the replacement of that to the professionals.  Don’t mess around with that on your own.

If something goes wrong that is not detected by the alarm system of your car, nature has provided its own way of letting you know something is wrong.  Some call it the squeaker, but I prefer the screamer.  This happens when there is not enough lubrication between the break lining and one metal piece starts to grind against another piece.  This alarm is extremely effective, as it alarms both you and your neighbors.

Best thing to do, have your brakes checked regularly.  It might be expensive, but no price can be placed on the peace of mind that you have when you know your brakes are working just fine.

Things to Do to Ensure Road Safety

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Automobile manufacturers have done their best to make sure that the cars they sell are safe enough to use by the general public.  They install air bags, seat belts, warning systems, improved breaking systems, all innovations that they can think of in order to make sure that the driver and passengers of the vehicle will have an equal number of live entrances and exits.  In short, they make sure that you don’t die inside the car.

Despite the number of safety precautions and measures inside these new cars though, we still hear of so many automobile related deaths in the news.  Is this due to the failure of the manufacturer?  Highly unlikely, as manufacturers know if they are at fault, the least they would be facing would be a number of cases filed against them.  The worst and very possible consequence is that their license to manufacture vehicles would be revoked.

The next possible cause for the accident is the driver himself.  And there are still two possible explanations for this.  Either he was unable to service his car properly, or he did something while driving that resulted in the accident.

This just goes to show that responsible driving is not limited to behaviors on the road.  Even what is done off the road helps in preventing accidents and injuries while driving.

For proper driving behavior, you may consider the following tips to make sure that you and the people around you remain safe while you are in the car.

  • Keep to the speed limit – speed is usually, if not always, part of the recipe for a road accident.  Speed limits are set based on a lot of factors such as the amount of estimated traffic passing through the area and the maneuverability of the road.  If the speed limit is disregarded, it can be taken as a disregard for life as well.
  • Buckle up – This is the law, and it is a wise law.  So many people have been saved by their seat belts. We hope that it won’t come down to this, but it always pays to be safe.
  • Be Alert – The driver has to be fully alert to make sure that they can avoid whatever dangers may be present on the road.  If the driver is sleepy, let him pull over and dose off.

Remember, the road is not a safe place and we have to do everything we can in order to make sure that we and those around us are safe while we travel on it.

Road Safety – Behaviors to be Practiced On and Off the Road

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Road safety is a concern for all people.  At the start of every day people get into their cars and drive to work.  For those who don’t have cars, they either hitch rides with other drivers or hire vehicles in order to travel over roads to get to work.  No matter how they do it, people use roads and are therefore concerned about road safety.

Although the phrase itself indicates that this is for safety on the road, actions to achieve road safety should not be limited to the road alone.  To ensure that the road and passage over it is safe, each vehicle owner must check his or her own vehicle to make sure that both driver and passengers of the said vehicle will remain safe.  This is because not all road accidents are driver related.  Some of them are caused by poor maintenance of the vehicle.

Here are a few things that may be done off the road to make sure that travel on the road will be safe and uneventful:

  • Maintain your brakes – check your brakes every time you leave your house in the morning.  If you feel something wrong, take the bus.  At the first warning sign, bring your car to the mechanic and have the brakes checked.

Some automobile manufacturers recommend that you also have the brake fluid of the car changed every two to three years.  This is to make sure that the fluid does what it is supposed to do whenever you tap your brakes.

  • Check your tires – The tires keep the car on the ground, and help keep the whole machine responsive to the steering wheel.  If the tires are worn out, the car has poor traction on the road.  This could result in less maneuverability.  Automobile manufacturers would recommend that you rotate your tires to get optimum performance out of them.

Also check for the wobble on the tires.  This may mean that there’s damage to the steering mechanism, or that the tires are in bad shape.  These are signs that, if left unattended, could lead to fatal car accidents.

Be vigilant to check you car and keep it in shape.  The car takes care of you only if you do the same.