Traffic Safety


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Car Crashes

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Few things are as devastating and unexpected as car accidents. Even the most minor fender-benders can cause persistent medical problems, insurance rate hikes, and many other costly inconveniences. Severe auto accidents--those that result in critical injuries, death, and major loss of property--are tragedies for everyone involved.

There are more than six million reported auto accidents in the United States every year, resulting in roughly 50,000 annual deaths and nearly three million injuries. Most auto accidents are preventable, however. Statistics show that drivers involved in accidents are most often fatigued, distracted, or under the influence of alcohol.

To avoid potentially dangerous distractions on the road, it is recommended that cell-phone use be discontinued and stereo volume be kept at a moderate level. More and more automobile accidents are caused by drivers who are operating CD players, MP3 devices, and cellular phones. The best advice for drivers is to keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road.

Despite our best efforts to avoid accidents, we are always at the mercy of other drivers as soon as we pull out of the driveway. Statistically, every American will be involved in at least one automobile accident in his or her lifetime. Therefore, it is very important to take the proper steps to lessen the consequences of auto accidents, should they occur.

The Importance of Safety Belts

Safety belts should be worn at all times during the operation of a motor vehicle. It is estimated that traffic fatalities are reduced by nearly fifty percent due to the use of safety belts. Seat belts are particularly effective at preventing fatalities in accidents that involve rollovers. Likewise, children under the age of ten should always be properly secured in a car seat. Car seats prove most effective when they are fastened to the rear passenger seat, directly behind the driver.

Every year, advances are made in automobile safety. Most cars built by major automobile manufacturers are equipped with driver- and passenger-side air bags, which are particularly effective at preventing injuries caused by head-on collisions. Many cars also come with side-curtain air bags that deploy from door panels, protecting passengers from side impacts. New car buyers should spend time considering these safety features before buying a car.

Anti-lock brake systems (ABS) and computer intelligence systems do much to contribute to collision avoidance. In emergency braking situations, ABS allows drivers to maintain maximum steering and deceleration control by regulating wheel speed and brake fluid pressure. Many vehicle manufacturers additionally offer cars equipped with all-wheel drive--a further aid in vehicle stability, traction, and handling.

Beyond posing serious physical risks to passengers, an auto accident can take a huge financial toll and leave its victims without means of transportation. Therefore, it is important to consider buying a good auto insurance policy. Many insurance plans, beyond covering liability and collision-repair claims, provide for costs incurred by emergency roadside assistance, including towing and locksmith fees, and replacement rental vehicle charges.

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