Auto Travel Safety | USA Today
Auto travel safety involves active participation of the driver and all passengers. (Photo: im auto image by Andreas Garkuscha from Fotolia.com )
The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported more than 34,000 fatal car crashes in 2008, a steady decline over the previous 10-year period. One person is killed for every 100 million-vehicle miles traveled. That number averages to more than 12 people killed for every 100,000 of the US population. Practicing auto safety while traveling reduces the risk of accidents and also the chance of death and injury.
The US Department of Transportation reports that approximately 450,000 weather-related accidents happen every year. Rain creates slick pavement, and snow makes for icy travel conditions. Preparing the car for the weather that may be confronted on the trip is the first step in travel safety. An emergency kit should be part of the standard baggage for the journey. All drivers should be trained in proper driving techniques for weather conditions including fog, high winds, rain and winter weather.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that half the fatal crashes for the year 2007 occurred on roads with posted speed limits of 55 mph or higher. Speed contributed to a significant number of deaths, according to the organization. Speeding deaths in California, for example, accounted for nearly one-third of all auto deaths.
Traveling with children requires preparation before the trip and meeting safety measures while traveling. KidsHealth from Nemours reports that "Using a child safety seat is the best protection you can give your child when traveling by car." The seat should fit a child's size, age and weight and match the vehicle used for the travel. This may require purchasing a new seat for use in a rented vehicle. Older children, under 4 feet 9 inches in height, should also use youth car seats that integrate with the car safety belt.
Passengers need to be secured with secondary safety belts, even in the rear seats, when traveling. The National Safety Council reports that wearing a belt reduces "... the risk of crash injuries by 50 percent." Passengers riding in the rear seats of the car are not protected without seat belts or child seats. The ASPCA also recommends the use of a harness and seat belt combination for larger pets traveling in the auto, including pets in the back seats of the car.
The National Safety Council reported in 2004 that more than 90 percent of American travelers "are hitting the roads ill prepared -- therefore increasing their chances of a road incident." The council recommends checking all tires before starting out each day, as well as confirming the use of seat belts by all members of the traveling party. Additional recommendations by the council include abstaining from cell phone use and avoiding travel over the recommended speed limit.
Lee Grayson has worked as a freelance writer since 2000. Her articles have appeared in publications for Oxford and Harvard University presses and research publishers, including Facts On. To be informed on helpful hints about see it here as well as on this page, see these wonderful web-sites.File and ABC-CLIO. Grayson holds certificates from the University of California campuses at Irvine and San Diego.
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Auto Travel Safety | USA Today
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