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Don’t Be A Statistic This Holiday Season

Posted on 11/14/2017

The phrase ‘reckless driving’ brings to mind irresponsible people out joy riding for a thrill…but more than likely it is due to fatigue.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that drowsiness or fatigue is a principle factor in up to 100,000 police reported crashes annually.  The result is some 71,000 injuries and 1,500 casualties.  Drowsiness causes our reaction time to slow, impairs our judgment, and makes us less aware.  It isn’t all that different from driving drunk except there currently isn’t a test such as a breathalyzer to prove it.

These fatigue related crashes are almost always a single vehicle that leaves the highway and hits a fixed object (sign, tree, fence, or other structure) or the vehicle rolls over.  It is believed that 40 – 60% of these “off the road” crashes are due to driver drowsiness.  These account for one-third off all traffic deaths nationally and two-thirds of fatalities in rural areas. 

Who is most likely to find themselves up close and personal with a tree or other object? 

  • Male drivers aged 16 – 29
  • People who work long hours
  • Non-traditional work schedules
  • Those with rotating work shifts
  • Commercial drivers
  • Medicated drivers
  • Those with undiagnosed sleep disorders

What are the hours that most of these incidents occur?

  • 12:00 am to 6:00 am
  • 1:00 pm
  • 5:00 pm

When you should be concerned

  • When you have no recollection of the last few miles driven
  • You can’t focus
  • You head keeps nodding downward
  • You drift from lane to lane
  • You keep hitting the “rumble” strip on the side of the road
  • You keep yawning
  • You feel stiff
  • You are “heavy eyed”
  • Your reaction time is impaired

What can you do to become more alert?

  • If possible, take a 30-minute power nap
  • Drink coffee or other caffeinated beverages
  • Get out of the vehicle and walk around a bit to improve circulation

What doesn’t work?

  • Loud music
  • Opening car windows for “fresh air”
  • Turning on air conditioning

Too many drivers think these things will keep them alert but sadly have found out differently!

It is always wise to avoid medication, even so-called non-drowsy over-the-counter cold medications when you will be driving.  Certainly, avoid alcohol. 

If you think it can’t happen to you remember this; 37% of Americans have nodded off while driving.  This does occur twice as often in men with 49% saying they have experienced it while only 26% of women admit to it.

Stay awake, America!

Your Teen Driver And Safety

Posted on 11/07/2017

I’m often asked what parents should look for in a car for their teen driver.  Of course, a lot of teens dream of a fancy sports car but that certainly isn’t the safe choice for young, inexperienced drivers.  Teen drivers, between the ages of 16 to 19 are far more likely to have a crash than any other group.  They tend to underestimate dangerous situations and they don’t always react to them appropriately.  It is hard for a mature, experienced driver to always make the right snap judgment when behind the wheel to avoid an accident.  Everything happens way too fast.  When you are brand new at driving it gets worse.

I always advise that before you pick a car based on price or looks think reliable and safety first, then choose the safest car you can afford to buy.  Air bags, stability control and excellent tires are a good start.  Large to mid-size cars are safer than small cars because they are heavier.  16 models with the highest crash rates included 11 small cars.  I know it is natural to assume that a smaller car is easier to handle and many times the teens like them because they appear sportier, however they are not the safest choice.

You also don’t want to buy a car that has a lot of horsepower or one that has too little.  Too much speed and power are of course, dangerous but lack of power can be equally dangerous as they are too slow during lane changes. You might also share with your teen that Arizona traffic tickets are mighty expensive these days.  For example, just rolling through a stop sign will get you a relatively inexpensive ticket but by the time you pay all the agencies involved it can cost you plenty! 

When you narrow down your choice of vehicle, check out the crash test scores on Safercar.gov. If you are buying a used car, please have it inspected carefully by us at Fairway Auto Repair and let us know let us know it is for a teen driver as we can may be able to give you more insight into the safety of the vehicle.

Self-driving cars are soon to be a reality and then all we in Phoenix have to worry about it is when the car’s computer crashes!  

Stay Safe This Halloween!

Posted on 10/31/2017

Halloween is a favorite of retailers because consumers spend a great deal on parties and decorating.  It is supposed to be a fun time but sadly, it has its share of problems such as pedestrian deaths, car thefts and car vandalism.

Car Thefts
Halloween ranks third as the deadliest day for pedestrians.  December 23 and January 1 are the two days ahead of Halloween.  It does, however, come in first for car thieves.  The National Crime Information Center.  In 2011 (the last time the data was compiled) 2,328 vehicles were stolen.  It seems car thieves take advantage of cars being parked in unfamiliar places and people seem more distracted.  It is also easy for a thieves to disguise themselves on that day as so many are in costume. 

Vandalism
Cars are also twice as likely to be vandalized on Halloween.  Tires are often slashed and windows broken.  The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that approximately 1,253 claims are filed due to vandalism on October 31 as compared to 692 on an average day. 

What can a driver do?  If at all possible, stay out of unfamiliar places.  If you must park in a strange place, keep an eye on your vehicle as much as possible and try to choose a well-lit area.

Drivers
Children are so excited on Halloween that sometimes they don’t practice “safety first.”  They don’t remember to cross only at crosswalks and with dark costumes and no flashlights, they are easy to overlook.  Drive slowly through neighborhoods and residential streets.  It is only a couple of hours that they are out…but it can be a dangerous time. 

No Tricks…Just Treats
Let’s keep this day an enjoyable and safe time for all!

Beware The Cyclops Syndrome

Posted on 10/24/2017

We’ve all seen it…driving down the road on a dark night and here comes a single lighted something coming your way.  Is it a motorcycle?  A UFO?  It passes by and you realize it was a car with a headlight out!  When driving at night, even on busy lighted highways it is essential to see and be seen…clearly!  

It is also helpful when driving behind someone to see their taillights and to be able to know their intentions by seeing their brake lights or turn signals! 

This brings me to your headlights. Back in the day they were made with glass but now they are made with plastic or polycarbonate.  This material is porous and expands slightly when it gets hot.  Over time it becomes oxidized and gets cloudy in appearance.  Not only does it look bad, it reduces visibility.  Your auto car professional now has a way to clean these for you and it is money well spent so you can see when driving at night and others can see you clearly too!

Make sure you check all your lights periodically for the maximum safe driving experience.

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