March 5th, 2014
speed limit 10. (Photo credit: brian hefele)
A six-vehicle crash occurred near Lake Palestine, Texas, today at about 9:15 a.m. According to Jean Dark, Department of Public Safety Trooper, the wreck occurred near the State Highway 155 intersection with Farm to Market Road 344. A Sheriff’s deputy with Smith County was in a patrol car and was stopped at a light in the northbound lane. A motorist driving an SUV ran into the deputy’s vehicle. The crash also involved four other automobiles, which all had minor damages as a result of the crash. The people in those cars received medical treatment at the scene and were released. The deputy was transported by ambulance to East Texas Medical Center.
The driver of the SUV was cited for failure to yield the right of way and for failure to control speed.
Speeding is a leading cause of car crashes. The faster a vehicle is traveling, the longer it takes to come to a full stop. The faster a vehicle travels, the more dangerous the impact. The force of a crash at 40 miles per hour (MPH) is doubled at 60 mph.
Research shows that speed is a factor in 30% of all fatal car crashes. On average, 1,000 people are killed in the U.S. every month.
The statistics for teenagers is a little different. More than 50% of all fatal crashes in which a teenager was driving involved speeding. According to research, teenagers are more likely to speed than older drivers; and they also allow for shorter headway or distance from the rear of one automobile to the front of the one behind it.
February 26th, 2014
Photograph of the steering wheel of a 1998 Volvo V70 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
There are always risks involved with driving on Texas roads. Road hazards such as animals, pot holes and debris can instinctively cause a motorist to swerve, which can result in a more serious accident than hitting the object. Other motorists create dangers because of distracted driving, drunk driving, or fatigued driving. It’s extremely helpful to develop tactics for surviving traffic accidents, which begins with knowing whether or not your vehicle has anti-lock brakes (See Part 1 for more on braking in an accident.) Here are a few more survival tips:
- Steer as smoothly as possible because extremely jerky steering can lead to skids, particularly with cars that have light rear ends or with heavy vehicles.
- When in a possible collision situation, remember that acceleration may be the best option, since it’s sometimes possible to avoid an accident by speeding up to get out of the way.
Follow these steps in the event that you lose control or begin to skid, to regain control of the automobile:
- Do not hit the brakes because it will only worsen the situation.
- Firmly grip the steering wheel.
- Steer in the direction of the skid. For instance, if the back of your vehicle is sliding to the driver’s left, turn the steering wheel to the left.
- Before braking or accelerating, wait for your tires to regain traction.
If a collision is unavoidable, take steps to minimize the amount of potential damage, as follows:
- Try to control your automobile’s speed because more damage is caused by an impact at a greater speed.
- Avoid side impacts because automobiles are much weaker structurally on the sides.
- Avoid getting into a head-on collision with other vehicles or with immovable objects such as concrete barriers or large trees.
See more tips for surviving a traffic accident in Part 1 of this two-part series.
February 19th, 2014
Brake and Accelerator (Photo credit: The Tire Zoo)
On Sunday night five students from Muenster, Texas, were in a rollover crash; two of the passengers were ejected from the vehicle. All five of the girls were transported to nearby Metroplex hospitals. Troopers said their conditions varied, from serious to critical. The vehicle went airborne at the top of a hill, and the driver lost control, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. The car landed in a baseball field after rolling at least five times.
Speed affects both the ability of a driver to maintain control of an automobile and the seriousness of car crashes. In all circumstances, it helps for the driver to become familiar with strategies for avoiding a crash. Here are a few survival tips, if a car accident seems imminent:
- Remain calm. Vehicles of every make and model respond best to smooth braking and steering.
- Be deliberate about your actions and decide on the combination of braking, accelerating, and steering that will best contribute to accident avoidance.
- What type of brakes you have has an impact on how you should respond:
- If you do not have anti-lock brakes, pump the brakes to keep the vehicle under control. If you slam on the brakes, you will skid and lose control because you can’t steer when the brakes are locked. Instead, press firmly and release. Release the brakes before steering, if you feel the tires go into a skid.
- If you have anti-lock brakes, do not pump the brakes. Simply hold the brakes firmly, and steer normally. The ABS computer in your car will pulse the brakes automatically. You can feel the brake pedal vibrating when this occurs.
See more tips for surviving a traffic accident in this continuing series.
February 12th, 2014
Icy roads slow traffic (Photo credit: OregonDOT)
Treacherous, icy roads are being blamed for four traffic-related fatalities and numerous injuries in North Texas on Monday and Tuesday of this week, though the accidents are still under investigation.
On Monday night at about 5:30 p.m., according to Sgt. Lonny Haschel, 16-year-old Katelyn ShyAnn Hooper of Haslet was killed in a collision near Texas 114 on Farm Road 156 in Denton County. Haschel says that a motorist driving a Ford pickup truck was traveling north on the slick roads, and he lost control. The truck moved into lanes of oncoming traffic and was struck by the Ford Contour Hooper was driving. There was another teen in the Contour, and she was transported to Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth with serious injuries. The Ford truck driver was also seriously injured and transported to Harris Methodist. Hooper was pronounced dead at the scene.
Forty-year-old William Scott Tanksley, a Dallas firefighter, also died Monday night. He had responded to a major traffic accident in southwest Dallas on Interstate 20, and he fell from an ice-covered highway overpass after being struck by a vehicle that was sliding on the ice.
Two motorists died on Tuesday, and icy precipitation is a suspected cause of those accidents, as well.
At about 5 a.m., a man from Kennedale was traveling on Southeast Loop 820 in Forest Hill when his vehicle crashed into another car and then hit the guardrail. He was thrown from the car and then struck by an oncoming vehicle. Five people were also injured in that tragic accident.
Fifty-six-year-old Kenneth Jones died in a one-vehicle accident near the Parker County Line in northwest Tarrant County. Jones was on Cattlebaron Drive when he lost control of his automobile and crashed into a tree. Sheriff’s spokesman Terry Grisham said the accident which took Jones’ life was caused by ice on the overpass.
February 5th, 2014
English: M3 traffic jam forming at Fleet This picture is taken from the walkway connecting the two sides of Fleet services. In the last of the evening sun, a line of tail lights forms on the westbound carriageway. By the time I had returned to the car and driven back onto the main carriageway (I was going the other way), the queue tailed back beyond the walkway. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
On Saturday, January 11, there was a fatal car crash in west Dallas, Texas, involving three vehicles. The accident which occurred on the southbound service road at N. Walton Walker Boulevard and W. Davis Street occurred at around 1 p.m. Two people were injured and transported by ambulance to Methodist Central Hospital, and one person was pronounced dead at the scene. According to a Dallas Police Department sergeant, one of the motorists lost control of his car as he was traveling at a high rate of speed and attempting to change lanes. The jaws of life were used by the Dallas Fire Rescue to extricate the deceased motorist from his vehicle.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), automobile collisions are a leading cause of fatalities in the U.S. The top three causes of car crashes are driving while under the influence of alcohol (DUI), speed, and distracted driving.
Drunk driving. One of the most hazardous behaviors of motorists is drunk driving. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) estimates that every day DUI is the cause of about 300,000 traffic incidents. These types of accidents are 100% preventable. To help prevent drunk driving accidents:
- Designate a sober driver ahead of time or
- Make arrangements and prepay for a taxicab before drinking and
- Hide friends’ keys if it’s suspected they may be too intoxicated to drive safely.
Speeding. Driving too fast is a serious problem and a leading cause of accidents on Texas roads and throughout the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. About one-third of all car accidents in the U.S. are associated with speeding. Arriving to a destination 10 minutes early is not worth putting lives at risk.
Distracted Driving. The number one cause of traffic accidents in the U.S. is distracted driving. Texting, chatting on the phone, grooming, reading, and talking to passengers are just a few of the ways drivers get distracted when driving. Studies show that drivers who use a hand-held device are 4 times more likely to have a car crash than drivers who pay attention.
January 29th, 2014
A woman is loaded into an air ambulance that landed on Ski Hill Rd. after a head-on crash near Lifford Rd. on Thursday, Jan. 6, 2011. She was flown to Toronto’s Sunnybrook hospital with serious, life-threatening injuries. Another woman was also airlifted to the same hospital with serious injuries. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A fatal head-on collision that occurred 15 miles south of San Angelo, Texas, on U.S. 277 Friday night has resulted in two deaths. According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, 28-year-old Michael Eugene Bell of Palestine was driving a Dodge Ram 2500 and was pronounced dead at the scene. Thirty-eight-year-old Christy Louella Arendt of Eldorado was driving a Chevrolet Suburban. She was transported by a medical helicopter to Shannon Medical Center with incapacitating injuries and died on Saturday.
According to witnesses, Bell was traveling northbound and Arendt was driving southbound just north of Christoval about ¼ mile north of McDonald Road; and the Dodge drifted into oncoming traffic. The two vehicles crashed head-on. Both drivers were wearing seatbelts. The posted speed limit at the accident site is 70 miles per hour, and both motorists were traveling at high rates of speed. The weather was clear and dry. Factors which contributed to the crash are unknown, and the fatal collision is still under investigation.
Traffic fatalities occur in Texas every day. The last day which was traffic-fatality-free in Texas was November 7, 2000; as of December 31, more than 45,000 automobile fatalities have occurred in Texas since that date.
Authorities say that the top three causes of traffic fatalities are:
- Impaired driving
- Not wearing seatbelts
Impaired driving means driving when the driver’s capabilities are diminished. Impaired driving is also referred to as driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs or drunk driving. More than 10,000 people in the U.S. died in 2012 as a result of impaired driving, which comes to practically one per minute (each 51 seconds).
January 22nd, 2014
English: Chrashed VW Pointer/Gol at Ciudad Lerdo, Dgo Español: VW Pointer/Gol Chocado en Ciudad Lerdo, Dgo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Two high school students died in a tragic car crash on Friday, January 10, at about 9:30 p.m. in Cedar Park, Texas. Cedar Park police confirmed that the teenagers who died in the crash were 18-year-old Nathaniel Gomez and 17-year-old Taylar Lesser. They also said that Lesser was driving the 2011 Nissan northbound on West Parmer Lane near Brushy Creek Road when the vehicle crossed the center median and was hit by a 2000 Volkswagen that was traveling in the opposite direction. The driver of the Volkswagen, 25-year-old Christian Bevil, was seriously injured in the crash and was transported to St. David’s Medical Center in Round Rock. Natalie Mann, age 21, was a passenger in the Volkswagen and suffered minor injuries. The teenagers were both pronounced dead at the scene.
An extensive study was done regarding causes of automobile crashes, and one of the conclusions was that 57% of all collisions are caused solely by driver factors. Combined roadway and driver factors caused 27% of all accidents, followed by: combined automobile and driver factors (6%); solely roadway factors (3%); combined driver, vehicle, and roadway factors (3%); solely vehicle factors (2%); and combined roadway and vehicle factors (1%).
Human factors in automobile collisions include all factors which relate to motorists and other road users that may contribute in some way to a crash. Examples of human factors include decision-making skill, reaction time, driver behavior, overconfidence in driving skills, auditory and visual acuity, and more.
One error that many drivers make is in believing that essential elements of good driving include confidence in a driver’s ability to control their car; read and react to weather, road conditions, and the environment; and anticipate the behavior of other drivers. These elements all point to an overconfidence in the driver and actually can place the driver at a high risk of crashing because they are prone to push the limits of safety until they get a wake-up call of some kind, such as an accident or a near-miss.
January 15th, 2014
Fireworks (Photo credit: bayasaa)
The traffic statistics spotlighted in this series also revealed which days of the year had the most pedestrian fatalities from 1986 through 2002. The averages per day follow:
- January 1, 24;
- October 31, 24;
- December 23, 22;
- December 20, 21;
- November 2, 21;
- October 26, 21;
- November 3, 20;
- November 10, 20;
- November 1, 20; and
- December 18, 20.
The average daily number of fatalities that occurred during the entire 17-year-period was 117 per day, in spite of the fact that deaths increased around various holidays.
Consumption of alcohol plays a big role in automobile-related deaths around holidays such as New Year’s Day and the Fourth of July. Statistics show that 41% of the automobile fatalities which occurred on July 4, 2012, involved high blood alcohol concentrations (BACs). On January 1, 2012, 51% of the auto fatalities involved intoxicated drivers. Compare these figures with 33% of the wrecks involving alcohol on both December 25 and January 8, and 31% of the accidents on June 27 and July 11 involved high BACs.
These fatality numbers just cited include deaths of drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. If the occupants of vehicles are excluded and the statistics from a pedestrian standpoint are considered alone, the most dangerous day of the year to walk amidst traffic is New Year’s Day, and Halloween is a close second.
See Part 1 and Part 2 of this two-part series for more information about crash statistics on particular days of the year.
January 8th, 2014
July 4th Fireworks (Photo credit: Sri Dhanush)
Data from the federal Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) was analyzed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) which covered 1986 through 2002, a 17-year span. The report calculated the average number of people who died as a result an automobile collision for each day of the year. According to those figures, January 1 did turn out to be one of the most deadly days for motorists. The 4th of July holiday and a day leading up to Christmas were at the top of the list, however.
Here are the deadliest days for traffic accidents from 1986 to 2002, showing the average number of deaths on the date shown:
- July 4 with 161 deaths;
- July 3, 149;
- December 23, 145;
- January 1, 142
- August 3, 142;
- August 6, 140;
- August 4, 139;
- August 12, 139;
- July 2, 138; and
- September 2, 137.
The statistics for the year 2012 alone revealed a similar pattern. The most traffic fatalities usually occurred between the start and finish of the summer traveling season, which is mid-June to late August. The worst days for fatal crashes were often near mid-year celebrations and holidays, such as Memorial Day, Cinco de Mayo, and July 4. New Year’s Day, however, was the 18th worst day in 2012.
Overwhelmingly, statistics show that Sunday is the day of the week with the most fatal traffic accidents.
It should be noted that the days linked to the most deaths are also those in which the total number of miles driven by motorists are highest.
See Part 1 for more information about crash statistics on particular days of the year, and auto-pedestrian fatalities are covered in this continuing series.
January 2nd, 2014
(Photo credit: pmsyyz)
A fatal crash occurred in Corpus Christi, Texas, an hour and a half into the New Year. The major one-car accident took place near Gollihar on the Crosstown Expressway. There were six people in the vehicle, and four of them were thrown out on impact. One person was trapped in the car. There were two children involved in the accident. The person who is believed to have been the driver died at the scene. Police said they believe alcohol was a factor in the deadly crash. While police were investigating the scene, another vehicle crashed into a police car. The driver of that car was taken into custody on a DWI charge.
Because so many celebrate on New Year’s Eve with alcohol, are there more fatal crashes than usual in the wee hours of New Year’s Day? A review of crash statistics was done, and it was determined that, for example, in 2012, the day with the 18th most fatal crashes of all 365 days of the year was January 1, with a total of 117 deaths.
The days with the highest number of deaths are those in which more people than usual are on the roads. July 4typically has a higher than normal number of fatal accidents, followed by July 3and December 23.
In 2012, the following were the days with the most fatal car crashes: June 16 with 142; June 9, 140; June 23, 136; May 19, 136; July 28, 135; June 30, 130; and July 7, 130.
For more information about crash statistics on particular days of the year, see this continuing series.
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