West Virginia passengers riding in newer model pickup trucks are more likely to be injured or killed in crashes than drivers, according to a recent study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. In fact, researchers found that most 2018 two-row pickups included in the study had difficulty maintaining their structure when struck on the front-right corner.
With 2018 seeing an estimated 40,000 fatalities and 4.5 million injuries due to car crashes, it's more important than ever for drivers to be safe on the road. There are five tips that some experts will give as a start, and they are summarized below.
The autumn can present many driving dangers on the roads in West Virginia. The season is known for family holidays, sports and the changing leaves, but it can also be a time for unpredictable weather and unexpected difficulties during a daily commute. Traffic on the road in the fall often increases as children go back to school and students go back to college. Cars, buses and pedestrians may fill the road before the beginning and after the end of the school day, and drivers may need to pay extra care for children potentially running out into the street.
According to a recent study conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, roughly 168 million drivers claim they have driven while drowsy during the previous year. Even worse, 103 million drivers say they have fallen asleep while behind the wheel. Driving conditions in West Virginia can change based on the weather or road conditions, and driving at night can bring hazards that are not present during the daytime. The glare that comes from approaching headlights, for example, can cause drivers to lose track of the road.
A General Motors study has measured the benefits of automated safety features like automatic emergency braking and rear cross-traffic alerts. Drivers in West Virginia should be aware that these features are known by the name of advanced driver assistance systems, or ADAS. GM, together with the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, analyzed crash data for 3.8 million GM vehicles across 10 states, distinguishing between cars with ADAS and those without it.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety states that red-light running is leading to more and more deaths, 65% of them being someone other than the offending driver. In fact, 2017 (the latest year for which complete crash data is available) saw a 30% increase in these deaths when compared to 2012. Drivers and pedestrians alike in West Virginia will want to recall the ways they can protect themselves from red-light runners.
In West Virginia and across the U.S., teens are getting into a significant number of car crashes. According to a study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, teen drivers raise their risk for a crash by 44% the moment they allow a single teen passenger into their car. The reason is simple: Teens are inexperienced drivers and can easily be distracted by conversations and other passenger behaviors.
West Virginia drivers may be interested to learn that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 3,166 people died in fatal car accidents in 2017. A significant number of the fatal accidents involved distracted driving, which is often caused by smartphone use, using navigation/infotainment systems and eating while driving. However, there are ways that drivers can make the roads safe for everyone.
Cars in West Virginia and the rest of the U.S. could someday feature external airbags if a European auto parts manufacturer has its way. If perfected, the technology would significantly reduce traffic-related injuries and fatalities.
Most drivers in West Virginia and across the U.S. believe that the rear seats, being away from the windshield and dashboard, are safer than the front seats. This was true back in the 1990s, but recent improvements to front seat safety have made rear seats the less safe of the two. In fact, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has called rear seats a danger zone.