Safety Saves – Lives and Dollars
- I’m careful when I’m driving and talking on the cell phone. Is this really a safety issue?
- I’m looking into buying an older car without airbags. As long as I’m wearing a seatbelt, am I not safe?
- I know I need my headlights on during the day when it’s foggy or raining, but why should I use them on a clear day?
- What is Electronic Stability Control and how does it make my driving safer?
- I was in a minor accident recently, but I still got whiplash. Is there some way to reduce the risk of whiplash?
- I’m about to take a long road trip. What should I keep in my car in case of emergency?
1. I’m careful when I’m driving and talking on the cell phone. Is this really a safety issue?
Yes. Crash risk is four times higher when you're using a hand-held cell phone.1 Some states also prohibit driving with a cell phone unless it's hands-free and some prohibit young drivers from using cellular devices even if they are hands free.
2. I’m looking into buying an older car without airbags. As long as I’m wearing a seatbelt, am I not safe?
Frontal airbags save lives. 22,000 in fact.2 And together, airbags and seatbelts greatly reduce your risk of serious head injury – by 85 percent compared with a 60 percent reduction for seatbelts alone.3 Among passenger vehicle occupants over the age of four, seat belts saved an estimated 15,383 lives in 2006.4
3. I know I need my headlights on during the day when it’s foggy or raining, but why should I use them on a clear day?
Nearly all published reports indicate daytime running lights reduce multiple-vehicle daytime crashes.5
4. What is Electronic Stability Control and how does it make my driving safer?
Electronic Stability Control (ESC) can detect and prevent skids. It also detects loss of steering control and automatically applies braking to individual wheels. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will require all vehicles for the model year 2012 to have ESC.7 The NHTSA estimates that ESC has the potential to prevent 64 percent of car rollovers and 85 percent of SUV rollovers that would otherwise occur in single-vehicle crashes.8
5. I was in a minor accident recently, but I still got whiplash. Is there some way to reduce the risk of whiplash?
Neck sprains and strains are the most frequently reported injuries in US insurance claims.9 Shorter people are often protected by unadjusted head restraints. But taller motorists who do not adjust their head restraints are more likely to sustain whiplash injuries.10 So don’t forget to adjust your seat – and your head restraint – to suit your size.
6. I’m about to take a long road trip. What should I keep in my car in case of emergency?
Whether taking a long trip or a short one, here are a few essential safety tips to help keep you safe.
- Be sure to maintain your vehicle. And that means tires, oil and fluid levels.
- The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers reminds drivers to check tire pressure - especially before a long road trip, as under-inflated tires can contribute to both safety and fuel economy issues. 11
- Consider the weather along your route and plan ahead.
- Make sure you have water, a cell phone, a first aid kit and appropriate maps handy.
- Don’t underestimate the value of a great roadside assistance plan like GM® Motor Club!
2 National Center for Statistics and Analysis of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 2006. Fatality and serious injury summary report. Available: http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/pdf/nrd-30/NCSA/SCI/3Q_2006/ABFSISR.pdf
3 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 2001. Fifth/sixth report to Congress: effectiveness of occupant protection systems and their use. Washington, DC: US Department of Transportation.
4 Insurance Information Institute. Issues Update: Auto Crashes. June 2008
5 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Q&As: Daytime Running Lights. Question 4. January 2008: www.iihs.org
6 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Advisory No. 29, Sept. 2003. www.highwaysafety.org
7 Insurance Information Institute. Issues Update: Auto Crashes. June 2008
8 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 2007. Statistical analysis of the effectiveness of electronic stability control (ESC) systems—final report. NHTSA docket no. 2007-28629. Washington, DC: US Department of Transportation.
9 Insurance Research Council. 2003. Auto injury insurance claims: countrywide patterns in treatment, cost, and compensation. Malvern, PA.
10 Temming, J. and Zobel, R. 1998. Frequency and risk of cervical spine distortion injuries in passenger car accidents: significance of human factors data. Proceedings of the 1998 International IRCOBI Conference on the Biomechanics of Impact, 219-33. Bron, France: International Research Council on the Biomechanics of Impact.
11 Auto Road Service. New Resource Helps You Check Tire Pressure. November 18, 2006. http://blog.autoroadservice.com/public/item/149133.
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