Safety Issues with Wearable Technology?

“Wearable Technology”, defined as portable devices like cell phones, cameras, etc… that are worn rather than carried, are on the verge of becoming mainstream and taking over the market within the next 2-3 years.

Google has been pushing the “Google Glass“, a glass that’s worn and that serves as a GPS, a video recorder, a camera and a lot more. Meanwhile Apple is getting ready to launch the Smart iWatch, a wrist worn device that is rumored to sync up with your iPhone, help access and run home automation and a host of other functions that are only rumors at this point.

What isn’t being discussed yet is how this “in your face” technology is going to affect safety. While more and more states and countries are banning the use of cell phones while driving, some of this technology doesn’t fit in any of the categories presently defined with regards to safely operating a vehicle or even, for that matter, walking down the street.

Ireland is, surprisingly, the first to start to look at banning the use of wearable technology while driving a vehicle.

As wearable technology becomes more and more common, new legislation is going to be needed as well as more studies to determine how it affects the wearer. What happens when the glasses you are wearing while driving suddenly start to flash at you that you’ve got a Facebook status update? How are we going to read the GPS readout in front of us on the lenses of the glasses we’re wearing while trying to navigate traffic? Do these wearable devices fall in the same category as texting while driving? How is law enforcement even going to be able to tell if these devices are in use?

Thoughts? Comments?


Safely Driving When Black Ice is Present

Here in WA where I live we don’t have a whole lot of snow, although snow storms do roll in now and then. We can go all winter without seeing any major snow (We have so far this year!) but one thing we see plenty of in winter is black ice.

Black ice can be extremely dangerous simply because the roads look normal. There is no snow or visible ice and the roads look more or less dry so drivers aren’t a cautious as they would be if winter storm conditions were present.

Black ice isn’t technically black, it’s clear so that the asphalt beneath it shows through and because of that it isn’t visible except for a slight difference in the color of the regular asphalt where no ice is present.

Driving safely when black ice is present requires a little knowledge and a lot of cautious. Here a few tips to help.

1. Know the weather and understand when and where black ice might be present. As soon as temperatures drop to 34 degrees or so black ice might be present. Even when temperatures are climbing over that, black ice might be present because the asphalt retains the cold longer. Condensation from vehicles, fog, dew and light mist can all contribute to making black ice on the roads.

2. Black ice is most often present in shaded areas where the sun hasn’t yet reached to thaw and warm the ground.

3. Because bridges and overpasses have cold wind blowing below, they are usually the first place that water and condensation freezes. Slow down and be extra careful when driving over bridges and overpasses even when temperatures haven’t quite fallen below freezing.

4. Drive defensively and with more caution then usual. Allow maximum distance between your car and other vehicles. Slow down much sooner and much more slowly when approaching stoplights, stop signs or other vehicles, especially when break lights are on.

5. Avoid changing lanes if possible. Any time you go to change lanes or take unnecessary turns you put the vehicle at risk of spin outs.

6. Never use cruise control when icy conditions are present. Cruise control will interpret the loss of traction as decreased speed and accelerate which is precisely what you shouldn’t do.

7. If you hit a patch of black ice and start to skid, remove your foot from the accelerator. Do not stomp on the breaks even though your natural reaction is to do so. Turn the wheels in the direction of the slide (Your tire are designed to grip when they are going straight. Turning the tires in the opposite direction means that you turn the surface that can grab the pavement sideways sideways so that they can no longer grip. Think of it in skiing terms’ when you are sideways to the slope you can slide sideways but when you are going straight down the slope you can turn as needed). When the wheels have traction again slowly steer it where you want the front of the vehicle to go.

8. Finally, always be prepared for the worst. Always keep an emergency kit in the vehicle. Include blankets, flashlights with extra batteries (LED flashlights are great for emergency kit as they will outlast regular flashlights by up to 20 times), a small foldable shovel, ice melt, kitty litter, flares or emergency lights, jumper cables, triangle kits, hand warmers and a fully charged cell phone.

The bottom line is that taking the extra time to leave earlier in order to drive slower when black ice conditions are present is time you’ll wish you had taken if you end up in the ditch or worse because you didn’t.




Traffic Safety Alert- Teen Driving Safety Week

October 20-26 is Teen Driving Safety Week

Parents often worry about their kids’ safety, but they have good reason to be concerned when their teen gets behind the wheel. Young, inexperienced drivers are the most crash-prone drivers on the road. In fact, traffic crashes are the number one cause of death for American teenagers.

Know the risks
Risks that contribute to traffic crashes involving teens are:

  • Impaired driving
  • Too many passengers
  • Driving at night
  • Speeding
  • Loud music
  • Eating
  • Cell phones
  • Bad weather

“So if your kids are driving or close to learning to drive, now’s a great time to reinforce good habits !

Tips For Parents

1. ALWAYS set a good example.

a. Wear your seatbelt every time and insist passengers buckle up too.

b. Stow your cell phone when you’re behind the wheel.

c. Don’t drink and drive.

d. Keep two eyes on the road and two hands on the wheel while driving.

e. eliminate all distractions.

2. Teach the basics.

a. Scan for hazards.

b. Obey speed limits

c. Use your turn signals.

d. Come to a complete stop at stop signs and signals.

e. Keep a safe following and stopping distance.

3. Practice, practice, practice.

a. Conduct as much supervised practice behind the wheel as possible.

b. Vary routes, time of day and driving conditions to ensure your new driver gains confidence in a wide range of situations.

c. Provide hands-on supervised training in heavy traffic and adverse weather conditions.

4. Establish and enforce ground rules.

a. Explain the consequences of unsafe behaviors and other hazards common for new drivers.

b. Establish house rules for young driver’s safety. Consider a Parent-Teen Driving Agreement.

c. Discuss consequences for rule violations and enforce them.

5. Stay involved after your teen is driving alone.

a. Remember parents influence a teen’s driving behavior more than anyone else.

b. Focus on SAFETY rather than control.

c. Monitor where your teen is going, who else will be in the car and when he/she is expected home.

TIPS FOR TEENS

1. Settle into the driver’s seat.

a. Wear your seatbelt every time and insist passengers buckle up too.

b. Stow your cell phone when you’re behind the wheel.

c. Don’t drink and drive.

d. Eliminate all distractions.

2. Remember the basics.

a. Scan for hazards,

b. Keep two eyes on the road and two hands on the wheel while driving.

c. Obey speed limits.

d. Use your turn signals.

e. Come to a complete stop at stop signs and signals.

f. Keep a safe following and stopping distance.

3. Respect the dangers.

a. Know that motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of death for teens.

b .Remember teen drivers ( age 16 to 19) are involved in fatal crashes at four times the rate of adult drivers ( ages 24 to 69).

c. Keep in mind 58% of teen drivers killed in crashes were not wearing a seat belt in 2012. 50% of passengers killed in crashes were not buckled up.

d. Recognize critical driver errors due to inexperience contribute significantly to crashes.

4. Embrace the freedom and responsibility.

a. Respect and protect your fellow drivers.

b. Take responsibility for your passenger/passengers and stop distracting behaviors.

c. Ask a parent to ride along during challenging driving conditions, like heavy traffic and adverse weather conditions.

d. Follow the rules so you can continue to enjoy the freedom driving brings !

  • Know what you don’t know. A recent NHTSA study found that 75 percent of serious teen crashes were due to a critical teen driver error, with three common errors accounting for nearly half of all serious crashes:
    • driving too fast for road conditions
    • being distracted
    • failing to detect a hazard
  • Make sure your parent teaches you critical driving skills. Try to accept constructive criticism and ask your parent to teach you the following skills to prevent the three common errors that lead to teen crashes:
    • speed management – This includes always following the speed limit, as well as knowing when to adjust your speed in congested zones and residential areas, during inclement weather, and on poorly lit roads.
    • recognizing and avoiding distractions – This means limiting the number of peer passengers, having a no cell phone or electronic device rule, and lowering radio volume.
    • scanning for hazards – This involves observing the surroundings far ahead of the vehicle and side-to-side so that you have sufficient warning to react and avoid a potential crash.
  • Develop house rules for your first year of independent driving.

Act proactively and speak to your teen before a tragedy occurs. Aside from potential financial damage, there are far worse consequences to your teen being involved in a crash. Don’t let your child become one of the thousands of people who die in teen driver-related crashes every year.

And remember – your teen is at risk just like anyone else. Assuming that your child is invincible can be deadly!

Information from Teendriversource.com , MADD, NHTSA, NSC, AAA and teensafedriving.org



Texting while driving is now the leading cause of teenage deaths

According to a new study, texting while driving has now become the most likely way that a teenager is going to die, passing up drinking and driving for the first time ever.

Reported on the Newsday website, the research done by Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park estimates that texting while driving now accounts for 3,000 deaths annually along with 300,00 injuries. Almost half of all boys admitted to texting while driving and, among teenage girls the percentage was only slightly lower, coming in around 45%.

The study further concluded that the more experience that teenagers get behind the wheel the more they tend to think that they are able to text and drive without danger.

While drinking and driving has slowly decreased over the past few years, texting while driving has gone up. What’s frightening is that texting while driving impairs a driver as much as drinking and driving. Laws designed to keep people from texting and driving clearly have no effect, the further also found, because stats between states with laws and states without laws showed no noticeable difference.

No of the reasons attributed to this increase has to do with the fact that most of the time when a teenager gets behind the wheel, he or she hasn’t been drinking; unfortunately most teens ALWAYS have their mobile device with them and the temptation to “just have a quick look” is just too great.


Work zone Safety

National Work Zone Awareness

Work Zones Need Your Undivided Attention, We’re all in this together.

The national campaign is conducted every year at the start of the construction season to attract national attention to drive carefully through highway construction and repair sites. Each year, approximately 1,000 people are killed in roadway work zones.

Please Drive Defensively in work zones. Work zones are very dangerous places because so much is happening. To safely navigate through one, always slow down, stay alert, focused and be patient. Always expect the unexpected. Work zone workers, equipment and materials may be in the traffic lanes. Altered road conditions such as edge drop-offs, sharp turns or sloped surfaces can affect your vehicles stability.

Here are 10 defensive driving safety tips for navigating through work zones:

10 Defensive Driving Tips for Work Zones

  • EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED! (Normal speed limits may be reduced, traffic lanes may be changed, and people may be working on or near the road.)
  • SLOW DOWN! Prepare to merge into different traffic lanes. (Speeding is one of the major causes of work zone crashes; obey posted speed limits. Speeding ticket fines are doubled for work zone violations)

  • DON’T TAILGATE! KEEP A SAFE DISTANCE BETWEEN YOU AND THE CAR AHEAD OF YOU. Allow plenty of following distance – at least 3 seconds so you have time to react to hazards (The most common crash in a highway work zone is the rear end collision. So, don’t tailgate)
  • KEEP A SAFE DISTANCE BETWEEN YOUR VEHICLE AND THE CONSTRUCTION WORKERS AND THEIR EQUIPMENT. Watch for the orange work zone cones.
  • PAY ATTENTION TO THE SIGNS! Be prepared to stop! (The warning signs are there to help you and other drivers move safely through the work zone. Observe the posted signs until you see the one that says you’ve left the work zone.)

  • OBEY ROAD CREW FLAGGERS! (The flagger knows what is best for moving traffic safely in the work zone. A flagger has the same authority as a regulatory sign, so you can be cited for disobeying his or her directions.)
  • STAY ALERT AND MINIMIZE DISTRACTIONS! (Dedicate your full attention to the roadway and avoid changing radio stations or eating while driving in a work zone.)
  • KEEP UP WITH THE TRAFFIC FLOW. (Motorists can help maintain traffic flow and posted speeds by merging smoothly, and not slowing to “gawk” at road work equipment and crews.)

  • SCHEDULE ENOUGH TIME TO DRIVE SAFELY AND CHECK RADIO, TV AND WEBSITES FOR TRAFFIC INFORMATION. (Expect delays and leave early so you can reach your destination on time. Check the National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse for information on work zone delays throughout the country.)
  • BE PATIENT AND STAY CALM. (Work zones aren’t there to personally inconvenience you. Remember, the work zone crew members are working to improve the roads and make your future drive safer.)

Information provided by FHWA, Workzonesafety.org and the National Traffic Safety Council.

Today’s Post is by Ken Oswald, Safety and Security Manager for Plateau

keno@plateautel.com