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Most Drivers Say They Don't Use Turn Signals
Maybe you've asked yourself: What is the big deal about a turn signal? Is it hard to find? Difficult to use? Why is it that 57 percent of drivers say they don't use one? Won't-use-a-signal drivers
are simply not motivated properly, according to a national survey by Response Insurance, a national car insurer.
- 23 percent say they're too lazy.
- 42 percent say they don't have enough time.
- 17 percent don't signal because they forget to turn the signals off after turning.
- 12 percent say they change lanes too often to bother.
- 11 percent say it's not important.
- 8 percent say they won't signal because other drivers don't.
- 7 percent actually say they forego the signal because it "adds excitement to driving."
(The total exceeds 100 percent because some drivers picked more than one reason.)
With LaneFX, drivers have experienced a 38% increase in consistent turn signal utilization compared with their driving habits prior to owning the system.
ParkFX is the 360-Degree Backup Solution and it's Less Costly Than Backup Sensors, Park Assist and Rearview Cameras
Deaths increase. Ninety-one children were killed in 2003 by drivers who didn’t see them while backing up, according to Kids and Cars ( www.kidsandcars.org ),
a nonprofit organization working to improve child safety around vehicles. Those deaths represented a 57 percent increase from 2002. During the first six months of 2004, more than 40 deaths have
been attributed to backover accidents, many involving vehicles with large blind spots.
Kids and Cars compiles these statistics; the federal government does not track such incidents. Janette Fennell, president of the organization, believes that backover accidents are underreported
and that the actual number of children killed or injured is much higher.
Blind spots grow with vehicle size. A likely reason for the increase in injuries is that minivans, pickups, and SUVs account for more than half of all vehicles sold. Many have large
rear-view blind spots.
Last year, Consumer Reports began measuring the blind spot of each vehicle we test, checking the distance for short drivers (5 feet 1 inch tall) and for those of average height (5 feet
8 inches tall). The biggest blind spot: 51 feet for a short driver in a Chevrolet Avalanche pickup. But even small sedans can have blind spots of more than 40 feet. We regularly update vehicle
blind-spot information, which is available on this site free of charge in The
problem of blind spots.
Systems other than ParkFX combine a camera with sensors, so we tested each system independently; it is listed with camera systems in the Ratings.
All the systems we tested are potentially useful. They’re a good complement to looking around the vehicle before entering, and checking the rear window and rear-view mirror just before and
while moving in reverse.
Moms Put ParkFX to the Test
There are no government statistics, but some estimate the family car killed as many as 500 children across the country last year. And the accidents happened in their own driveways.
While some may wonder what kind of parent could do that, Rachel Clemens said it could happen to just about anyone.
Two years ago, her daughter Adrianna wandered out of her Garland home.
That’s when Adrianna's father accidentally backed over the child with his SUV.
"He didn't see her," Clemens said. "That was the last day I saw my daughter alive."
So, how could you not see a child behind the family car?
Three Dallas moms agreed to take a safety test with the understanding that they would not know exactly what the tests were about.
While they were distracted filling out a questionnaire, Drivaware and Safe4Kids placed an orange cone about 8-feet behind their vehicles and the drivers were then asked to back up.
All three plowed right over the cone.
"Did I just run over something?" Adrienne Ludlow as said as she backed up.
"Oh, I hit the cone," said Amy Gordon.
"I figured it was a branch or something," said Merideth Manning.
Drivaware and Safe4Kids measured the blind spot behind each of their vehicles. The Honda Pilot had a blind spot over 30 feet, an Infiniti G35 about 18 feet and a Chevy Tahoe more than 35 feet.
The eye-opening experiment had all three women interested in the same thing, which was looking into safety equipment like ParkFX or a rear sensor that beeps faster the closer a driver gets to an object.
Safety cameras mounted on the rear of car are also available. The cameras relay a picture of the blind spot to a screen on the dashboard.
Both technologies are available on new cars with after-market installation costs less than $500.
"I would absolutely buy it, but wouldn't think of it until you came over and showed me how dangerous this could possibly be," Gordon said.
Attorney Windle Turley represents the Clemens family, which sued Nissan, the maker of the family's SUV. They claim the technology should have been standard equipment. The case is still pending.
"Manufacturers take off this needed safety equipment so they can market their vehicle a little bit lower in price than their competitors; and that's really wrong,” Turley said.
The trade group representing automakers says, "the best defense against back-over accidents is to check around the vehicle before you back up."
"That does not work and you're sending the wrong signal,” Clemens said.
Clemens, and several lawmakers in Washington, support legislation that would require automakers to put back-over safety equipment on all new cars.
Experts say it would add up to $200 to the price.
"To me, I think to anybody, any parent, the cost is nothing compared to a child's life," Clemens said.
There are no official numbers, but one safety group estimates that in Texas more than 90 children have been killed in or around parked vehicles in the last 15 years.
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.
More than 2,400 children are accidentally backed-up over each year in the U.S.
And of those, more than 100 die. With the proliferation of SUVs and mini-vans, drivers aren't aware of the enormous rear view blind spots that prevent
them from seeing what's behind them, especially small objects, animals, people, and children. Some of these blind spots are even greater than the length of an average driveway! Senators Hillary
Clinton (D-New York) and John Sununu (R-New Hampshire) have recently proposed legislation requiring the U.S. Department of Transportation to issue regulations aimed at reducing accidents that frequently
kill or injure children in cars. But until that legislation is passed, it's up to the driver to protect their loved-ones and prevent a tragedy by using a Park
Assist system or a backup
In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated 2,767 people were treated in emergency rooms from July 2000 through June 2001 because of backovers. "This is a huge problem," Fennell
said. "A lot of [the problem] is due to the change in our vehicle mix" that has more people driving tall-profile vehicles, she said.
Indeed, Fennell's research indicates that "in 60 percent of the [backover] cases, it's a truck, van or SUV that's involved," Fennell said. The reduced rearward visibility is caused by
the design and tall profile of SUVs, pickup trucks and even vans.
The top edge of the tailgates and liftgates in these vehicles typically sits high and so do the vehicles themselves. This means that unaware children and small-stature adults and anything not
tall enough to be visible in the rear window glass might be run over as the vehicle is backing up.
Consumers can choose from a wider range of aftermarket vehicle-backup systems since our last report, including new and improved designs.
All such systems are intended to help drivers detect objects within the blind spot behind the vehicle.
New are camera systems such as the Audiovox and ParkFX we
tested that offer a “picture in the mirror” feature. The display is on a mirror that fits on top of or replaces the existing rear-view mirror, so you don’t have to choose between
looking at the display and at the rear-view mirror while backing up. ParkFX also combines a camera with an audible sensor, so you can see and hear
potential trouble. We would like to see more backup warning systems on the market that combine camera and sensor technologies.
Backup systems are typically marketed as parking aids, not safety equipment. But our tests show that the camera models can also help drivers avoid backover-accident injuries and fatalities.
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