While many people are already concerned about the effects of the opioid epidemic in West Virginia and around the country, studies indicate that those effects could extend to car accidents. According to one nationwide study, drivers in fatal two-car collisions held to be at fault for crashes were nearly twice as likely to test positive for opioids as those that were found not at fault. Regardless of the presence of opioids, other drugs, or alcohol, the most common cause of these fatal crashes was one driver veering out of his or her lane.
Few people in West Virginia desire to share the road with an impaired driver. Everyone now knows the danger a driver under the influence is to every other vehicle on the roadway. To avoid a potentially fatal situation, defensive driving techniques are in order.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has released a study linking distracted driving with the increased use of handheld phones for other activities than talking. West Virginia residents should be aware that these other activities are far riskier than talking on the phone because they tend to take a driver's eyes off the road.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends seven hours of sleep every night. Going with less will only make one drowsy throughout the day, affecting behavior behind the wheel of a car. Yet in a AAA survey, nearly a third of the respondents said that they had been so tired behind the wheel at least one in the preceding 30 days that they were at the point of having drooping eyelids.
Car accidents have been increasing over the past several years in West Virginia and across the country. Since 2011, there has been a 30 percent increase in motor vehicle accidents. Analysts attribute the rise in vehicular crashes to the increased use of phones while driving, an increase in employment rates, the legalization of marijuana in many states and an increase in the average number of miles driven by drivers.
West Virginia residents may have heard that some car parts manufacturers are developing external airbags. ZF is one of those manufacturers, and it has recently come out with safety data and a strategy for developing airbags that may prompt others to consider the technology. According to reports, external airbags can reduce the severity of crash injuries by as much as 40 percent.
Drivers in West Virginia are accustomed to winter weather on the roads, but there are a few tips that they can keep in mind to stay safe. Sometimes, it seems as though winter weather can encroach upon an area with little warning. Fortunately, many vehicles have new technology to help in keeping the vehicle and driver safe while many drivers are able to carefully maintain control of the steering wheel while on the road.
The following are a few proven safety tips that drivers in West Virginia can consider the next time they are traveling in direct sunlight. The early mornings and late afternoons are especially dangerous as the brightness of the rising or setting sun can cause visual illusions. Individuals raise their risk of a life-threatening accident by 16 percent when driving in such conditions.
Large trucks continue to be a danger to other drivers in West Virginia. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has found that in 2017, all types of traffic fatalities declined in number except large truck crash fatalities. Whether or not truckers or the other side are to blame for most of these accidents is another matter, though one worthy of consideration.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has found that many drivers in West Virginia and across the U.S. are relying too heavily on their car safety features like blind-spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control. While car safety features can, according to federal estimates, reduce the number of car crashes by 40 percent and crash-related deaths by 30 percent, they can still backfire when drivers do not understand their limitations.