Tip of the Week
With Americans around the country adjusting their daily commutes and driving habits to accommodate back-to-school schedules, it is a great time to brush up on Driving 101. Take the stress out of back-to-school travel by practicing these safe driving tips.
Steer away from old habits
Even something as simple as gripping a steering wheel can impact safety. According to Hankook Tire’s most recent Gauge Index, 66 percent of drivers position their hands at “10 and 2 o’clock.” While this was once a widely instructed technique, driving safety experts now recommend keeping your hands at “9 and 3 o’clock.” In the case of an accident, this slight shift can prevent a deploying airbag from forcing the driver’s hands into his or her own head. Younger drivers are moving away from the traditional steering grip, as only 26 percent of respondents aged 18-34 drive with their hands at “10 and 2,” yet close to three out of four drivers over the age of 34 still follow the old form.
However, drivers can - and do - develop safer driving awareness with experience, despite not always being taught key fundamentals when first learning to drive. The Hankook Gauge Index found that while only 38 percent of drivers were taught to provide one car length of space for every 10 mph when driving at high speeds, 69 percent now follow that rule. Similarly, only 32 percent of drivers were taught to use low-beam lights in heavy rain, snow, sleet or fog, and now over half (51 percent) do so. While some driving behaviors have become routine, key fundamentals can have an impact on safety.
Student pickups and drop-offs are chaotic and busy times, and reduced speed limits create safer driving environments for parents, students and teachers. While 71 percent of Americans drive over the speed limit in normal traffic zones, nearly the same number (73 percent) report that they slow down in school zones.
Although a high percentage of American drivers heed school-zone laws, close to 25 percent still report driving over the speed limit in school zones. Driving even a mile or two over the speed limit in school zones can result in a speeding ticket. Drivers should keep an eye out for traffic signs promoting modified speed limits to not just create a safer environment, but also to avoid traffic violations.
Back to college
Sixty-six percent of current and former college students say they had (or have) a car during their time on campus. Commuting to and from home or work and exploring the college town can add to the wear and tear of your vehicle. Checking the condition of the vehicle and its tires is especially important for college students who often neglect car care for their studies.
While over 70 percent of drivers are aware that healthy tire tread helps support improved traction and better mileage, there is a lack of consistency when it comes to monitoring. In fact, 69 percent of drivers check their tread less than once a month, including 33 percent of drivers who rely solely on their mechanic to check when the car is being serviced. There are many reliable ways for consumers to check tire tread on their vehicles and their children’s vehicles, including the use of a tread depth gauge, tread wear indicators or the “penny test.”
More awareness and maintenance of tire tread can lead to greater road safety this fall.
Did you know?
Domino’s and Ford Motor Company want to understand the role that self-driving vehicles can play in pizza delivery. Over the next several weeks, randomly-selected Domino’s customers in Ann Arbor, Michigan will have the opportunity to receive their delivery order from a Ford Fusion Hybrid Autonomous Research Vehicle, which will be manually-driven by a Ford safety engineer and staffed with researchers. (PRNewsfoto/Domino’s Pizza)using an upgraded version of Domino’s Tracker app, customers, randomly selected from those who opt-in to the service, will have to agree to be part of the trial before the delivery.
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A survey by Gartner Consumer Trends in Automotive found that more than half of consumers don’t want to ride in fully autonomous cars. Gartner interviewed about 1,500 people from April through May, and found that 55 percent would not ride in a fully autonomous car. This is bad news for advocates of the technology who say it will actually make driving safer, since statistics indicate human behavior is a major cause of most automotive crashes. The good news is that just over 70 percent of those surveyed said they would ride in a car that was partially autonomous (defined as a vehicle that allows a driver to retake control of the car if needed).
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