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Are You Blind To Backup Danger?
Drivaware and Safe4Kids Tests Show Larger Vehicles Have Larger Blind Spots
If you have a sport utility vehicle, it is probably because they are big and you believe they're safer than other vehicles. But Drivaware
and Safe4Kids News has uncovered some information about a safety issue that affects virtually every vehicle on the road. When you back your vehicle up, you look in the rearview mirror, and
it is easy to see if an adult is in the way. But what if a small child is standing there? Statistics show that 28,000 children were taken to emergency rooms last year when they were run over
by a vehicle backing up. Before you get behind the wheel, you'd better know more about your vehicle's blind spot. Robin Giglio's
22-month-old son Hayden, somehow got behind the family SUV as they were backing away from his grandparents' house. "I relive the accident every day," Giglio said. "Hayden ran
behind the car and I couldn't see him at all and I hit him." Drivaware and Safe4Kids's Investigators went to a supermarket parking lot and placed orange cones the size of a small child
behind some vehicles that were backing out. The people in the vehicles checked their mirrors and took their time backing up, but they couldn't see the cone because of the blind spot. If it had
been a child, he or she could have been seriously injured, if not killed. With the help of John Long of AAA Mid-Atlantic, Drivaware and Safe4Kids set
up a blind spot demonstration with Alexis and Annemarie volunteering to be the drivers. Cones were placed directly behind different cars, vans, pickups and SUVs. In an older-model Toyota
Corolla, Alexis didn't spot the cone until it was moved 9.5 feet behind her. However, Annemarie spotted it sooner -- after 8 feet 3 inches. Why was there a difference with the exact same car?
Annemarie is 8 inches taller than Alexis. The shorter you are, the harder it is to spot things when you back up. In the demonstration, Drivaware and Safe4Kids discovered that the bigger the vehicle,
the bigger the blind spot. With a Jeep Grand Cherokee, the blind spot was over 20 feet 5 inches. The Ford Windstar's blind spot was about 25 feet and the Land Rover had a 36-foot blind spot.
Drivaware and Safe4Kids found out it was even worse when the blind spot was directly behind the spare tire and the middle seat headrest. Alexis couldn't see the cone for over 182 feet -- that's over
half the length of a football field. You can reduce your blind spot, Long said. "In the third seat of a passenger van, put it down in the resting position and it will give you somewhat
greater visibility as you look over your shoulder," Long said. Many vehicles have sensors that beep when something is close. You can also reduce your blind spot by raising your power seat
to let you see at a greater angle. If you don't have a power seat make sure you turn around and lift yourself up as much as possible -- that always reduced the blind spot in tests by AAA Mid-Atlantic.
You should also always make sure you look behind the vehicle before getting in and hit the horn briefly to warn anybody who might be in
your blind spot.
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Available exclusively to members of the National Safety Council, Safety Talks provide a year's worth of topics for your monthly safety meetings! Bulletin boards, rule books, signs
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The National Safety Council now offers four online training options tailored to fit your budget and your employees' schedule. Based on their classroom counterparts, these online programs
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The new Virtual Defensive Driving Course (Virtual DDC) from NSC and Raydon combines the proven defensive driving course curriculum with actual behind-the-wheel driving time in a simulated
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This guide to teen driver safety assists families in understanding and managing the journey their teens will travel from beginner to independent driver. The guide takes years of scientific
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This FREE CD-ROM contains a wealth of information on safety and health issues that impact people of all ages – children to older adults – in a variety of settings – at work,
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Top 5 Auto Safety Technologies
Which of the often-expensive new technology might really save your life? Cars and trucks have become a lot safer in the past decade, but some 43,000 people still die every year
on U.S. highways. To be sure you and your family do not wind up among these statistics, you want the latest and best auto safety equipment available when you buy a new car. But unless
you can afford a luxury car--where most safety gear will be standard--you will have to make choices about how much to spend on optional auto safety equipment.
Some state-of-the-art auto safety devices--such as blind spot detection systems --aim to help you survive once an accident happens. Others--even
better--help to control skids and other dangerous situations, aiming to avoid accidents entirely. To stay safe, you ideally need both preventive and protective equipment. New auto safety gear may
be especially important if you are thinking about buying a sport utility vehicle (SUV).
J.D. Power & Associates' Consumer Ratings of Top 5 Auto Safety Technologies:
- Tire-pressure monitoring
- LaneFX style blind-spot detection / side assist / collision warning
- Lane-departure warning
- Emergency brake assist/collision mitigation
- Rearview backup camera
Study shows cell phone use decreases driver likelihood to check vehicle's blind spots
Thursday November 12, 7:20 pm ET
ANN ARBOR , Mich.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Drivaware inc. reported on Friday its preliminary findings on the impact of cell phone use and driver's checking of
blind spot zones prior to changing lanes. Based on a survey of 231 participants, survey results show that drivers talking on a cell phone were 52% less likely to (manually) check their
blind spot prior to changing lanes. Study further shows that same drivers using a more advanced form of blind spot exposure (such as Drivawar's LaneFX) were only 18% less likely to
check their blind spot prior to changing lanes when they are using a cell phone. The benefits of new auto safety technologies such as LaneFX is that it is positively improving drivers' on-road
awareness despite the increasing number of in-cabin driver distractions. Drivaware inc. indicated that the complete study findings will be published in
October of this year. -KAS 09/21/2006
Ditch Your Stick-on Convex Blind Spot Mirrors Today
Stop Distorting Your Rearview and Compromising Your Side Mirror Vieweing Space
Drivaware has come up with something useful: the LaneFX , a controller that connects
your power mirrors to your turn signals, so that when you signal (you do signal before you turn, right?), your mirrors swivel outward to show your blind spot. Hey, if this keeps just one cyclist
out of the hospital, I'm happy.
Generally speaking, larger vehicles have larger rear blind spots. For example, the blind spot behind a typical sedan could only hide a small animal, while
the blind spot of an SUV can hide small children, resulting in as many as 50 children being killed by reversing SUVs each year.
The blind spot behind tractor trailers can contain entire vehicles, which is one reason many trucks carry warnings not to follow too
close, such as "if you can't see my mirrors, I can't see you." This is partly because the driver's position is higher in a tractor-trailer.
Larger vehicles also have much larger front and side blind spots. Tractor-trailers have not only large rear quarter blind spots, but also a large blind spot directly to their left and to their
There are a number of products available to consumers to deal with the blind spot problem. Convex mirrors, often called "spot mirrors" can bring blind spots into view, but their optical
properties impart a great deal of distortion so as to make it difficult to judge distances. Newer technologies using aspheric mirrors allows the blind spots to be virtually eliminated
while minimizing distortion.
Double Lane Change Increases SUV Rollover Risk
Drivaware reports on a new double lane-change test that is designed to stimulate an emergency maneuver to determine SUV handling. The test is important because the more controllable and secure
a vehicle is when pushed to its handling limits the better chance the SUV occupants will avoid an accident. In situations where an obstacle is in the way, due to the compromising nature of SUVs
in general, steering around it can cause the vehicle to go out of control and result in an SUV rollover. Double lane-change SUV rollovers are more common than passenger cars because of the higher
center of gravity that makes SUVs more prone to rollover, especially if swerving abruptly.
The aspect of SUV safety has most often focused on risk of rollover. The National Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has said the rate of SUV rollover
is two to three times greater than a passenger car. Height of a SUV makes the vehicle more top heavy than one that sits lower, which is why consumers interested in purchasing a SUV are advised
to choose one lower to the ground if not needing a vehicle with high ground clearance.
Accident avoidance is an important aspect of vehicle safety and the ability to sharply swerve to avoid hitting an object or a person. In a SUV, the sudden cornering forces or double lane-change
can cause the SUV to tip onto two wheels and cause it to rollover. Especially after the Ford/Firestone SUV rollovers in 2000 left hundreds dead and even more injured, focus on SUV safety, like
double lane-change SUV rollover risk, greater.
When shopping for an SUV, check for the availability of a blind spot exposure system, such as LaneFX. In addition to rollover resistance technology and such a wide range
of vehicle options, becoming informed consumers can reduce safety risks.