Research shows that most drivers tend to overestimate their driving abilities. This is true of drivers all over the world, but it is especially true of those in West Virginia and around the country.
A report released by Motus, a vehicle management platform, indicates that the rate of car accidents has increased significantly alongside the rate of smartphone use. In its 2018 Distracted Driving Report, the company says smartphone ownership grew to 77 percent in 2017 from just 55 percent in 2013. During that same period, the number of car crashes in West Virginia and across the country rose to 6.4 million from 5.7 million. That represents a 12.3 percent increase.
West Virginia has a rainy season like every other state, which poses several challenges on the road. One of the dangers that drivers must always be alert for is hydroplaning, where a vehicle slides or slips uncontrollably over a wet surface. The thin layer of water that develops between a vehicle's tire and the road could become thicker, making the tires lose traction.
West Virginia residents, especially those who are thinking about purchasing a new car, should know that current safety tech is cutting down on the number of backup crashes. While backup collisions are only one type of accident, the fact remains that they can lead to serious injuries and even fatalities, particularly among children.
Car accidents cause many injuries and deaths in West Virginia every year. Unfortunately, traffic signals and speed limits are not enough to stop negligent drivers from causing serious collisions. Experts suggest that roundabouts may save lives and be more effective than traffic lights at preventing serious accidents.
When summer days in West Virginia wind down, kids go back to school and major holidays loom ahead on the calendar. These forces increase traffic, especially with the addition of school buses, bicyclists and pedestrians. Hazards can pop up in urban, suburban or rural environments, and safe drivers observe best practices in all situations.
On Aug. 7, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety warned drivers in West Virginia and elsewhere that Tesla, BMW, Mercedes and Volvo vehicles can be dangerous when operated in semi-autonomous mode. The agency encouraged drivers to use extreme caution when placing their car or truck under semi-automated control.
Nationwide Insurance has released some driving tips that West Virginia drivers may find useful as they spend time on the road. Driving safely should always be the primary concern of any driver behind the wheel, and practicing safe driving skills all the time can help people avoid car accidents. The main safety tips pointed out by Nationwide are to focus on the task of driving, drive defensively, practice safety and make a plan that allows for safe driving.
Teen drivers in West Virginia should be aware of the risks they run both before and after they obtain their license. A study conducted by the National Institutes for Health and Virginia Tech University has shown that teens have a higher risk for crashes and near-misses with other vehicles after they start to drive alone.
People in West Virginia may have been more at risk from being on the road on Aug. 2 than any other day of the year. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, between 2012 and 2016, more than 500 people died in car accidents on this day.