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Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Most Common Motor Accidents

Even when it's done correctly, driving a car can be a dangerous game. The National Safety Council estimates that 32,500 people died in US traffic accidents in 2013, while a staggering 3.8 million more required medical attention for injuries.

Many of these collisions are innocent and purely accidental with no real wrongdoing. But most of them were caused by common driving mistakes and errors. Here are some of the most common issues that cause traffic accidents in the US and how to prevent them.

Distracted Driving

Usually a result of "texting and driving," distracted driving can involve using your smartphone, eating in your car, or using the visor mirror to fix your makeup. According to Distraction.gov, distracted driving is responsible for more than 3,000 deaths each year and is common among, though not exclusive to, younger drivers.

Prevention Tips: Early education is key. Online education and driving tests, commonly associated with the drivers education required to obtain a license, drills the reality of distracted driving and the damage it can cause. If you feel like your son or daughter won't take the hint from an online course, many newer audio systems in cars can connect with smartphones via bluetooth to make calls or even read texts aloud so the driver's hands never leave the wheel and the eyes never leave the road.

'Microsleep'

Driving while sleep deprived is extremely dangerous, so much so that it is actually illegal in some states. Sleeping at the wheel is not always as obvious as snoring with your forehead against the horn. Scientists have discovered that some exhausted drivers experience "microsleep" on the road, brief moments lasting one to thirty seconds where drivers lose consciousness without even knowing it happens.

Have you ever gone through your morning routine and had to stop and ask yourself, "Wait, did I remember to brush my teeth?" Microsleep is like that and, according to the Center for Transportation Safety, it occurs most often during highway driving when the lease amount of fluctuation in attention occurs.

Prevention Tips: The first step is obvious — get more sleep. But that's not always possible so the fallback is to treat sleep deprivation like alcohol intoxication. Although too many people choose to get behind the wheel after drinking, hopefully you're not one of them. Ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft make getting home easier (and cheaper) than a cab ride and you should never be afraid to call your friends and ask for help getting home because you're too tired.

The Future from Google

The time when microsleep and distracted driving are no longer a concern might be closer than we think. Google has been testing driverless cars for years and is now testing them on California roads. If driverless cars make you skeptical, know this — after 200,000 miles of testing, they've only been in two traffic accidents and both were the other driver's fault, reports The Atlantic.