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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
Key Strategies for Total Driver On-Road Awareness
Defensive Driving is the Number One Key to Safe Driving Habits
If you've been out on the roads, you know that not everyone drives well. Some people speed aggressively. Others wander into another
lane because they aren't paying attention. Drivers may follow too closely, make sudden turns without signaling, or weave in and out of traffic.
Aggressive drivers are known road hazards, causing one third of all traffic crashes. But inattentive driving is becoming more of a problem as people "multi-task" by talking on the
phone, eating, or even watching TV as they drive. We can't control the actions of other drivers. But learning defensive driving skills can help us avoid the dangers caused by other people's bad
Skills That Put You in Control
Before you get behind the wheel of all that glass and steel, here are some tips to help you stay in control:
Stay focused. There are a lot of things to think about when driving: road conditions, your speed, observing traffic laws and signals, following directions, being aware of the
cars around you, checking your mirrors - the list goes on. Staying focused on driving - and only driving - is key.
Distractions, like talking on the phone or eating, make a driver less able to see potential problems. It's not just teen drivers who are at fault: People who have been driving for a while can
get overconfident in their driving knowledge and let their driving skills get sloppy. All drivers need to remind themselves to stay focused.
Stay alert. Being alert (not sleepy or under the influence) allows you to react quickly to potential
problems - like when the driver in the car ahead slams on the brakes at the last minute. Obviously, alcohol or drugs (including prescription and over-the-counter drugs) affect a driver's reaction
time and judgment. Driving while tired has the same effect and is one of the leading causes of accidents. So rest up before your road trip.
Watch out for the other guy. Part of staying in control is being aware of the drivers around you and what they may suddenly do so you're less likely to be caught off guard. For
example, if a car speeds past you on the highway but there's not much space between the car and a slow-moving truck in the same lane, it's a pretty sure bet the driver will try to pull into your
lane directly in front of you. Anticipating what another driver may do prepares you to react.
Seven Secrets to Total Driving Awareness
When you drive defensively, you're taking control of the situation and keeping your eyes open for aggressive or inattentive drivers who might cause an accident. Here are seven easy things you
- Think safety first. Avoiding aggressive and inattentive driving tendencies yourself will put you in a stronger position to deal with other people's bad driving. Leave plenty
of space between you and the car in front. Always lock your doors and wear your seatbelt to protect you from being thrown from the car in a crash.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Check your mirrors frequently and scan conditions far ahead of you. If a vehicle is showing signs of aggressive driving, slow down or pull over
to avoid it. If the driver is driving so dangerously that you're worried, try to get off the road or highway by turning right or taking the next exit if it's safe to do so.
- Assume the worst. Assume that drivers will run through red lights or stop signs and be prepared to react. While driving, imagine that other drivers (especially truck drivers)
don't see you when you are making your way into their path. Also, keep an eye on pedestrians and pets along the road.
- Stay cool, calm, and collected. It's best to avoid making eye contact with aggressive drivers. As hard as it can be, ignore any aggressive facial or hand gestures. And don't
race aggressive drivers - you run the risk of inciting their road rage. Other drivers do stupid things. The best drivers don't get mad or try to get even.
- Get the authorities involved. If you see an aggressive driver or trouble ahead, get to a safe place to pull over and call authorities or the police. Any information you can
provide - a description of the vehicle, its license plate number, the direction it's going - will be helpful. Some areas allow you to use your cell phone to call the appropriate authorities with
special numbers like #77. If an aggressive driver crashes or causes an accident, try to stop safely a good distance from the scene. Wait for the police to arrive so that you can tell them about
the aggressive behavior you witnessed.
- Don't drive if you are under the influence or very sleepy. Alcohol, illegal drugs, and some prescription medications affect a person's judgment, including the ability to make
important braking and steering decisions on the road. That means you'll be less able to react quickly and drive defensively. Sleepy drivers can be just as bad as intoxicated drivers, so make
frequent rest stops or let a friend drive if you're tired.
- Don't take risks. When in doubt, don't pass. And keep a safe following distance. That way you can avoid a collision, stay in your lane, and not get rear-ended if the driver
in front of you slams on the brakes.
If you're interested in taking a full defensive driving course, contact your state's Department of Motor Vehicles. All states keep a list of defensive driving courses that are approved by the
state - even some that are online. They cost money, but some insurance companies give people who've taken the course a discount in insurance rates.
Happy (defensive) driving!
Are All Blind Spot Mirrors the Same?
The areas most commonly referred to as blind spots are the rear quarter blind spots, areas towards the rear of the vehicle on both sides. Vehicles in the adjacent lanes of the road may fall into
these blind spots, and a driver may be unable to see them using only the car's mirrors.
Other areas that are sometimes called blind spots are those that are too low to see behind and in front of a vehicle. Also, in cases where side vision is hindered, areas to the left or right can
become blind spots as well.
Beware of Setting Your Mirrors "Wide"
Mirror alignment is often done incorrectly by drivers. There is a tendency to want to provide context for the side mirror view by having the rear of the driver's own vehicle in the mirror frame.
When improperly aligned the side view mirrors widen the perspective offered by rear view mirror, but still not providing full coverage of the blind spot areas around SUV's, light trucks, minivans
and even commercial vans.
Even with a head-turn, the driver should continue to look forward, in the direction the car is traveling. This is accomplished by using the correct blind spot mirrors or blind
spot detection system. Exaggerated head-turns, where the driver actually faces backward for a moment to check the blind spot, are dangerous because the vehicle in front
may come to a sudden stop just at that instant resulting in a rear-end collision.
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.
|NHTSA estimates that 1 out of 25 accidents on US highways is due to improper lane change or lane merge. Get in on the latest and coolest
mobile electronics technology. Car gadgets are interesting, but who are you going to trust to show you the vehicles in your blind spot area? Lane FX is safe, reliable, affordable and universal:
It works in any vehicle (sedan, truck or SUV) equipped with power mirrors for lane change and also for parking assist. LaneFX is also available with ParkFX Park Assist and Curb Exposure
System. ParkFX tilts your side mirror(s) downward when you put the vehicle in reverse to show you the curb
(during parallel parking) or the parking boundaries around you. Get ParkFX and avoid giving your rims costly "curb rash"!
LaneFX proven better solution to the blind spot problem than stick-on convex blind spot mirrors
Why use conventional, ineffective blind spot mirrors? LaneFX puts your side mirrors to work for your driving safety. It alerts you before changing lanes by showing you any trucks,
SUV's, and passenger cars hiding in your blind spot side view mirror. Plus, LaneFX works with your vehicle's existing power side mirrors.
Learn how adjusting your power mirrors wide does not guarantee to eliminate blind spots
The Car Talk folks might like this concept
, but why use 1960's technology to solve an increasingly
important driving safety problem? Blind spot mirrors are no match for the simplicity, innovation and high-technology of the LaneFX system.
Unlike what you'd drive in Volvo XC90, S80, or Audi Q7 Lane Assist, LaneFX is not a fad or a car gadget! Auxiliary blind spot mirrors are not the the latest automotive safety technology
to make lane changing and merging safer. As you activate your blinker, LaneFX swings your side mirror outward to show you what may be lurking
in your vehicle's blind spot. LaneFX is more compatible with the latest turn signal mirrors than stick-on convex blind spot mirrors. Since LaneFX doesn't take away any of the mirror surface (unlike
stick-on fish eye mirrors), you can see Muth turn signal LED's with ease. Turn signal mirrors and LaneFX are the ultimate in total driver awareness. Check the best-selling
Muth turn signal mirrors and see how easily they're compatible with LaneFX for a powerful safety result.
- blind spot mirrors
- lane change
- Total driver awareness and safe driving even with when used with radar detectors.
- Consumer Reports stresses the importance of proper lane check prior to merging or
- Sonus SideVUE, is a good example of stick-on gadgets for your blind spot mirrors, but without real benefit of driving safety that Lane FX provides on any vehicle equipped with power mirrors,
- Prevent accidents: Always check your blind spot zone before changing lanes
or merging into highway traffic.