Most Montana residents are aware that driving when sleep-deprived can be just as dangerous as doing so when impaired by alcohol, but studies suggest that knowledge alone is not enough to prevent them from engaging in this dangerous behavior. Fatigue is thought to be a factor in about 16 percent of all fatal crashes, which is concerning for road safety advocates because Department of Transportation figures suggest that one in three American motorists get less than the recommended seven hours of sleep each night.
Montana drivers could put themselves in harm's way by driving while distracted. According to a AAA study, 88 percent of respondents said that distracted driving was on the rise. However, for those looking to keep their employees safe while on the road, it will take more than statistics to change their behavior. This is because most people feel as if they won't be impacted by the dangers that distracted driving can cause.
When heavy rains fall in Montana, drivers run the risk of hydroplaning. This occurs when the tires of a car encounter more water beneath them than they can handle, creating a thin layer of water between the tires and the street. The tires will therefore be floating above the road. The loss of traction can cause the car to slide or skid uncontrollably, crashing if the driver reacts in the wrong way.
It's not unusual for some rural intersections in Montana to be governed solely by a stop sign. While this can be an effective way to manage traffic flow in some areas, it may not be the best option in locations where there's a higher risk of vehicle collisions. In one such area following a fatal accident in North Carolina, vegetation was cleared to make the stop sign more visible, and signs were posted announcing that a stop sign was ahead. However, there were two more serious accidents at the same interaction. The next step taken was to install a rural roundabout, which proved to be a more effective solution.
Public safety officials have not definitively linked an increase in distracted driving to the increase in fatal car accidents, but most drivers in Montana probably think that it would make sense to. The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that 37,150 people died on America's roads in 2017, which is more than a 10 percent jump from only three years prior. In the meantime, more new technology, especially automated technology, is being introduced.
Montana drivers know that holidays bring with them a greater risk for accidents on the road. They may be wondering which is the deadliest holiday for such accidents. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has analyzed fatal car crash data from 2010 and 2014 and found that Independence Day, followed by New Year's Day, is the most dangerous.
Drivers in Montana who do not wear their seat belts will want to know about the results of a study conducted by researchers at NYU Langone Hospital-Brooklyn. This study shows that seat belt use can, in the event of an auto accident, decrease the risk of a severe liver injury by as much as 21 percent. Seat belt and airbag use together leads to 26 percent less risk even though seat belts alone seem to decrease the severity of the injury itself.
Most of the distracted driving accidents that took place in Montana and around the country over the last five years were caused by drivers who were daydreaming or lost in thought, according to a recent study from Erie Insurance. These findings contradict the prevailing narrative that the recent surge in distracted driving is largely due to cellphone use. Erie Insurance researchers produced their report, which was released at the beginning of Distracted Driving Awareness Month, after studying Fatality Analysis Reporting System data about accidents that claimed the lives of 172,000 road users.
Many car accident victims in Montana and across the U.S. suffer from soft tissue injuries, sometimes without knowing it. This is because injuries to the soft tissue, like muscles, tendons and ligaments, do not show up on X-rays like trauma to hard tissue, such as bones and cartilage, does. The onset of symptoms can vary widely with some people experiencing pain and swelling a few hours after an accident and some individuals only after a few days after a collision.
When you first learned to drive, you likely experienced times when you felt nervous or afraid behind the wheel. With time, your comfort level may have increased until you reached the point where driving felt like second nature. The problem with getting too comfortable while driving is that it can lead to complacency, which is a common factor among many distracted driving accidents. You want to be comfortable, yes, but never so comfortable that you lose your focus on the task at hand.