It's only November, but winter weather is already rearing its ugly head in South Carolina and elsewhere. In order to avoid accidents when things get slippery outside, traffic safety experts have several driving tips for area drivers.
Roundabouts are gradually replacing traffic lights in many cities in Minnesota and across the country. Wisconsin boasts the most roundabouts of any other state with 432, and Minnesota makes the top 10 with 252 roundabouts. Though they are a relatively new concept, with only 5,000 in existence in the United States, many experts are encouraging their implement as they are believed to be safer than traditional stoplights.
Underage drinking is an issue in North Carolina and across the U.S., but every state differs as to the exact frequency of teens drinking. It should be noted that drunk driving, regardless of the driver's age, is the cause of at least one third of all driving fatalities in this country. Of the 37,133 road accidents reported in 2017, 10,874 involved a driver with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or more.
North Carolina law prohibits people from operating motor vehicles when they have a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or above. Strong law enforcement efforts since the 1980s have reduced the number of drunk driving accidents, but they remain a leading source of traffic fatalities. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drunk drivers contribute to roughly one-third of all fatal traffic crashes.
Most drivers in North Carolina and across the country would never drink and drive, but around half consistently drive while feeling drowsy, according to a study by the National Sleep Foundation. The study demonstrates how dire the nation's drowsy driving problem is.
Drivers in North Carolina and across the U.S. are encountering more and more distractions on the road. Smartphones and navigation systems are just the newest in a line of possible distractions. In fact, everyday activities like eating and talking can pose a danger to drivers as well.
A preliminary report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offered slightly good news about traffic fatalities in North Carolina and nationwide. Deaths on U.S. roads in 2018 appear to have dropped by about 1% compared to the previous year. The agency, however, reported that pedestrian deaths went up by 4% in 2018. Bicyclists fared badly in the same year with a 10% increase in fatalities according to preliminary data.
According to data gathered by the United States Department of Transportation, roundabouts result in less fatalities and serious injuries at rural intersections. At one particular location in North Carolina where a pregnant woman died in 2011, DOT replaced stop signs with a roundabout in order to improve safety. While this type of traffic control does not decrease the amount of overall accidents, it does reduce their severity significantly.
Summer is fast approaching, which means that more motorists will soon be on roads in North Carolina. Unfortunately, this can increase the chances of getting in a car accident. In fact, car wrecks are the leading cause of death for Americans between the ages of 2 and 34 years old. By following certain safety tips, however, drivers can help prevent crashes and safely arrive at their destinations.
Many people in North Carolina are fully aware of the dangers of distracted driving. Increased law enforcement activity and public awareness campaigns have highlighted the fact that thousands of serious or even deadly car accidents are caused every year by people whose minds are not on the road in front of them. Distracted driving has emerged as a major hazard since smartphones have become nearly ubiquitous. When roads are slow, traffic is heavy or red lights are long, people may be tempted to reach over to their mobile devices for interaction or entertainment.