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Texting While Driving: How Dangerous is it?

Unprotected text: We investigate if sending messages on your phone while driving is more LOL than OMFG.

The results, though not surprising, were eye-opening. Intern Brown’s baseline reaction time at 35 mph of 0.45 second worsened to 0.57 while reading a text, improved to 0.52 while writing a text, and returned almost to the baseline while impaired by alcohol, at 0.46. At 70 mph, his baseline reaction was 0.39 second, while the reading (0.50), texting (0.48), and drinking (0.50) numbers were similar. But the averages don’t tell the whole story. Looking at Jordan’s slowest reaction time at 35 mph, he traveled an extra 21 feet (more than a car length) before hitting the brakes while reading and went 16 feet longer while texting. At 70 mph, a vehicle travels 103 feet every second, and Brown’s worst reaction time while reading at that speed put him about 30 feet (31 while typing) farther down the road versus 15 feet while drunk.

Alterman fared much, much worse. While reading a text and driving at 35 mph, his average baseline reaction time of 0.57 second nearly tripled, to 1.44 seconds. While texting, his response time was 1.36 seconds. These figures correspond to an extra 45 and 41 feet, respectively, before hitting the brakes. His reaction time after drinking averaged 0.64 second and, by comparison, added only seven feet. The results at 70 mph were similar: Alterman’s response time while reading a text was 0.35 second longer than his base performance of 0.56 second, and writing a text added 0.68 second to his reaction time. But his intoxicated number increased only 0.04 second over the base score, to a total of 0.60 second.

As with the younger driver, Alterman’s slowest reaction times were a grim scenario. He went more than four seconds before looking up while reading a text message at 35 mph and over three and a half seconds while texting at 70 mph. Even in the best of his bad reaction times while reading or texting, Alterman traveled an extra 90 feet past his baseline performance; in the worst case, he went 319 feet farther down the road. Moreover, his two-hands-on-the-phone technique resulted in some serious lane drifting.

The prognosis doesn’t improve when you look at the limitations of our test. We were using a straight road without any traffic, road signals, or pedestrians, and we were only looking at reaction times. Even though our young driver fared better than the balding Alterman, Brown’s method of holding the phone up above the dashboard and typing with one hand would make it difficult to do anything except hit the brakes. And if anything in the periphery required a response, well, both drivers would probably be screwed.

Also, don’t take the intoxicated results to be acceptable just because they’re an improvement over the texting numbers. They only look better because the texting results are so horrendously bad. The buzzed Jordan had to be told twice which lane to drive in, and in the real world, that mistake could mean a head-on crash. And we remind again that we only measured response to a light—the reduction in motor skills and cognitive power associated with impaired driving weren’t really exposed here.

Both socially and legally, drunk driving is completely unacceptable. Texting, on the other hand, is still in its formative period with respect to laws and opinion. A few jurisdictions have passed ordinances against texting while driving. But even if sweeping legislation were passed to outlaw any typing behind the wheel, it would still be difficult to enforce the law.

In our test, neither subject had any idea that using his phone would slow down his reaction time so much. Like most folks, they think they’re pretty good drivers. Our results prove otherwise, at both city and highway speeds. The key element to driving safely is keeping your eyes and your mind on the road. Text messaging distracts any driver from that primary task. So the next time you’re tempted to text, tweet, e-mail, or otherwise type while driving, either ignore the urge or pull over. We don’t want you rear-ending us.

Read Phil LeBeau's Coverage on CNBC: Texting and Driving Worse Than Drinking and DrivingView Photo Gallery




Stop the texts. Stop the wrecks.

Get the facts & discover tips on how to avoid texting while driving.

 
Fact # 1

Five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting. When traveling at 55mph, that's enough time to cover the length of a football field. (2009, VTTI)

Fact # 2

A texting driver is 23 times more likely to get into an accident than a non-texting driver. (2009, VTTI)

Fact # 3

Of those killed in distracted-driving-related crashed, 995 involved reports of a cell phone as a distraction (18% of fatalities in distraction-related crashes). (NHTSA)

Get more facts about driving and texting here!
 

http://www.stoptextsstopwrecks.org/#facts


 

Out of sight, out of mind.
Silence is golden.
Designate a texter.
 
FEATURED VIDEO:
Stairs

Not everyone should text and walk. No one should text and drive.



















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Anti-lock brakes.

Anti-lock brakes allow you to maintain steering during emergency braking.


ABS is a braking system that automatically pumps the brakes for you, preventing wheel lock-up, which in turn allows you to maintain steering under emergency braking. Before ABS, if you slammed on the brakes, your wheels would lock and you would eventually come to a screeching halt. To prevent you from skidding out of control, people were taught to pump their brakes. This prevented wheel lock up.

Today, we don't need to pump the brakes because ABS does that for us. A typical ABS system will pump the brakes about 15 times per second, far faster than any driver.

How do anti-lock brakes work?

Speed sensors are located at each wheel. When these sensors 'sense' that a tire has stopped moving (the wheel is locked under braking) the sensor sends a message to the controller that in turn regulates the brake pressure to reduce lock-up.

It 'pumps' the brakes over a dozen times per second by increasing brake pressure and reducing it, over and over again. Since the wheels are not locked up, a driver can swerve to avoid an obstacle while under hard braking.

Anti-lock brakes make a distinct noise when operating and you can feel it through the brake pedal.

ABS was not designed to reduce braking distance. It was designed to allow a driver to steer while under heavy braking. In certain situations ABS can slightly increase your braking distance.

Unlike non-ABS equipped vehicles, anti-lock brakes give you control so that you can swerve around an obstacle instead of hitting it.

How do I use ABS?


The beauty of anti-lock brakes is that it requires nothing from the driver. You just slam on the brakes and stay on them. Never pump ABS because it is already doing that for you. Pumping ABS will dramatically reduce the effectiveness of the system.

Types of Anti-lock Braking Systems

There are two system designs, four-wheel ABS and rear-wheel ABS. Rear-wheel systems were offered on pick-ups and some SUV's in the early and mid nineties. They only pumped the rear wheels.

Today it is difficult to find this system. Four-wheel ABS is now the mainstream. But there are two variations of four-wheel ABS. There are four-channel anti-lock braking systems and three-channel.

Both systems have speed sensors at each wheel but a three-channel system pumps the rear brakes at the same speed and the two front wheels pump individually.

A four-channel system pumps all four brakes individually as they may be on different surfaces such as ice, gravel, pavement or grass. A three-channel system is cheaper to produce and is typically offered on less expensive cars. The four-channel system is a better, more precise system, though a three channel system is still far better than no ABS at all.

Most new vehicles come equipped with anti-lock brakes as standard equipment. If you find a vehicle that doesn't have it as standard equipment, it's well worth the money to get it. Hopefully you'll never have to use it but if you do it can save your life.


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Heat Poses Risk for Tire Safety
August 18th, 2011 by G&R Body Shop


With this year’s record-breaking summer temperatures in much of the United States, the danger of heat-related road safety issues is magnified. One of the most common and most dangerous is the heat-related tire blowout. Mixing 100 degree temperatures with rubber tires and freeway speeds can add up to true danger on the roads. Here’s how to avoid tire blowout disaster—and what to do if the worst happens.

Heat affects tires from multiple angles. Driving in the summer results in friction between your tires and the hot asphalt. The faster the speed, the more friction builds up and the more the temperature of the air filling your tire rises. Combine this with the fact that heat and friction cause asphalt to expand and crack, causing hazardous road conditions, and you have a recipe for a tire blowout.

Cracked asphalt can create sharp ridges that can damage your tires. The hot expanded air inside your tires will then attempt to rapidly escape its confines, potentially causing an explosion—a blowout—and a dangerous situation for driver, passengers and other vehicles on the road.

Proper inflation of tires is key. Under-inflated tires cause “excessive wear on the outer edge of the tire and heat build-up.” When inflated too low, the tire has more room to flex over bumps, rocks, rails, and road, with each flex adding an opportunity for your tire to become damaged. Over-inflated tires on the other hand can cause excessive wear on the center of the tire, leaving the tire more vulnerable to damage from sharp corners or objects, or to a break in the tire itself. This can lead to a tire blowout. Filling a tire too full also causes the rubber to be taut and increasing the likelihood of the rubber breaking rather than bending over the road.

Overloading your vehicle can also prove dangerous during hot weather, as the added weight increases the pressure on your tires. Consider using a trailer, making multiple trips, or just minimize your packing.

Tire pressure should be checked frequently, especially in the summer months. Tire gauges can be purchased at any auto parts store, and air pumps are available at most local gas stations for a few cents.

When in doubt, consult a professional, especially before any long summer road trips or increased freeway driving.

So what do you do if you have a blowout? According to the California DMV guide, the steps you should take if you have a tire blow out are as follows:

1. Hold the steering wheel tightly and steer straight ahead.

2. Slow down gradually. Take your foot off the gas pedal slowly, but do not hit the brakes.

3. Let the car slow to a stop, completely off the road.

4. Apply the brakes when the car is almost stopped.
 
Anti-lock brakes.

Anti-lock brakes allow you to maintain steering during emergency braking.

ABS is a braking system that automatically pumps the brakes for you, preventing wheel lock-up, which in turn allows you to maintain steering under emergency braking. Before ABS, if you slammed on the brakes, your wheels would lock and you would eventually come to a screeching halt. To prevent you from skidding out of control, people were taught to pump their brakes. This prevented wheel lock up.

Today, we don't need to pump the brakes because ABS does that for us. A typical ABS system will pump the brakes about 15 times per second, far faster than any driver.

How do anti-lock brakes work?

Speed sensors are located at each wheel. When these sensors 'sense' that a tire has stopped moving (the wheel is locked under braking) the sensor sends a message to the controller that in turn regulates the brake pressure to reduce lock-up.

It 'pumps' the brakes over a dozen times per second by increasing brake pressure and reducing it, over and over again. Since the wheels are not locked up, a driver can swerve to avoid an obstacle while under hard braking.

 Anti-lock brakes make a distinct noise when operating and you can feel it through the brake pedal.

ABS was not designed to reduce braking distance. It was designed to allow a driver to steer while under heavy braking. In certain situations ABS can slightly increase your braking distance.

Unlike non-ABS equipped vehicles, anti-lock brakes give you control so that you can swerve around an obstacle instead of hitting it.

How do I use ABS?

The beauty of anti-lock brakes is that it requires nothing from the driver. You just slam on the brakes and stay on them. Never pump ABS because it is already doing that for you. Pumping ABS will dramatically reduce the effectiveness of the system.

Types of Anti-lock Braking Systems

There are two system designs, four-wheel ABS and rear-wheel ABS. Rear-wheel systems were offered on pick-ups and some SUV's in the early and mid nineties. They only pumped the rear wheels.

Today it is difficult to find this system. Four-wheel ABS is now the mainstream. But there are two variations of four-wheel ABS. There are four-channel anti-lock braking systems and three-channel.

Both systems have speed sensors at each wheel but a three-channel system pumps the rear brakes at the same speed and the two front wheels pump individually.

A four-channel system pumps all four brakes individually as they may be on different surfaces such as ice, gravel, pavement or grass. A three-channel system is cheaper to produce and is typically offered on less expensive cars. The four-channel system is a better, more precise system, though a three channel system is still far better than no ABS at all.

Most new vehicles come equipped with anti-lock brakes as standard equipment. If you find a vehicle that doesn't have it as standard equipment, it's well worth the money to get it. Hopefully you'll never have to use it but if you do it can save your life.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - 

Heat Poses Risk for Tire Safety
August 18th, 2011 by G&R Body Shop


With this year’s record-breaking summer temperatures in much of the United States, the danger of heat-related road safety issues is magnified. One of the most common and most dangerous is the heat-related tire blowout. Mixing 100 degree temperatures with rubber tires and freeway speeds can add up to true danger on the roads. Here’s how to avoid tire blowout disaster—and what to do if the worst happens.

Heat affects tires from multiple angles. Driving in the summer results in friction between your tires and the hot asphalt. The faster the speed, the more friction builds up and the more the temperature of the air filling your tire rises. Combine this with the fact that heat and friction cause asphalt to expand and crack, causing hazardous road conditions, and you have a recipe for a tire blowout.

Cracked asphalt can create sharp ridges that can damage your tires. The hot expanded air inside your tires will then attempt to rapidly escape its confines, potentially causing an explosion—a blowout—and a dangerous situation for driver, passengers and other vehicles on the road.

Proper inflation of tires is key. Under-inflated tires cause “excessive wear on the outer edge of the tire and heat build-up.” When inflated too low, the tire has more room to flex over bumps, rocks, rails, and road, with each flex adding an opportunity for your tire to become damaged. Over-inflated tires on the other hand can cause excessive wear on the center of the tire, leaving the tire more vulnerable to damage from sharp corners or objects, or to a break in the tire itself. This can lead to a tire blowout. Filling a tire too full also causes the rubber to be taut and increasing the likelihood of the rubber breaking rather than bending over the road.

Overloading your vehicle can also prove dangerous during hot weather, as the added weight increases the pressure on your tires. Consider using a trailer, making multiple trips, or just minimize your packing.

Tire pressure should be checked frequently, especially in the summer months. Tire gauges can be purchased at any auto parts store, and air pumps are available at most local gas stations for a few cents.

When in doubt, consult a professional, especially before any long summer road trips or increased freeway driving.

So what do you do if you have a blowout? According to the California DMV guide, the steps you should take if you have a tire blow out are as follows:

1. Hold the steering wheel tightly and steer straight ahead.

2. Slow down gradually. Take your foot off the gas pedal slowly, but do not hit the brakes.

3. Let the car slow to a stop, completely off the road.

4. Apply the brakes when the car is almost stopped.



*We make no representation or warranty as to the accuracy, completeness or authenticity of the information contained in any article.