Distracted driving rates may or may not be increasing in Oklahoma specifically, but there is no doubt that drivers are using their phones in riskier ways than before. This is according to a study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Researchers looked at two observational surveys that involved drivers in four Northern Virginia communities as they approached and stopped at red lights.
Though many people in Oklahoma enjoy setting back their clocks an hour each fall and getting an extra hour of sleep, first responders and police know that the changes mean more car accidents. Taking extra care driving during the week following changes to daylight saving time may help drivers prevent accidents from occurring.
American highways can be dangerous places for people in Oklahoma and across the country. Still, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration highlighted some positive movement, reporting that fatalities linked to car crashes declined by 2.4% in 2018, a drop for the second year in a row following a spike in 2015. According to the NHTSA, this decline is largely linked to better, safer cars produced with technological updates that can make crashes less likely. However, the toll taken by motor vehicle accidents continues to be significant. Around 36,560 people were killed on the roads in 2018, and hundreds of thousands more were severely injured.
There are only about 5,000 roundabouts in Oklahoma and across the U.S., making them a rare sight for most drivers. However, more and more cities are replacing traffic lights with these structures in the effort to improve traffic flow and safety. According to statistics, the roundabouts are, in fact, doing their job effectively.
Oklahoma roads can become slick with rain and leaves as the calendar turns to fall. Leaves that fall off of trees can make it harder to see potholes, lane lines and other markings. Leaves that are still on the trees can prove distracting to tourists and others who may be in town just to see them change colors. Therefore, it is important for drivers to slow down and to increase their following distance.
University researchers who surveyed parents of teenagers concluded that parents should actively encourage their teens to drive safely and promote responsible driving behavior among their peers. The survey of 900 parents of children aged 14 to 18 identified bad weather as a major concern for parents. Volatile weather, which is common in Oklahoma, worried 68% of parents, who often prevented their teens from riding with teen drivers when weather conditions were potentially hazardous.
Autonomous technologies have the potential to reduce the number of dangerous car accidents on Oklahoma roads. While fully self-driving cars might be some time away on the horizon, a range of advanced driver assistance systems could reduce the risk of serious car accidents and the associated injuries and fatalities. According to one study released by GM, these safety technologies can be linked to significant decreases in certain types of car accidents. Rear-end collisions in particular were reduced by 46% with the installation of certain types of safety devices.
According to a study of traffic accident data conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the number of crash fatalities due to drivers running red lights has surged in recent years. In the state of Oklahoma, more than 3,000 crashes occurred from drivers ignoring traffic signals. The Traffic Safety Culture Index indicates that 85% of drivers say going through a red light is very dangerous, but almost 33% said they'd done it in the prior 30 days.
Drivers in Oklahoma are probably when they are drowsy behind the wheel. They will have droopy eyelids, yawn constantly, drift out of their lane and perhaps even forget what the last few miles were like. If they do nothing about this, then they only raise their risk for a crash. A AAA study from 2018 states that 9.5% of all accidents are caused by drowsy drivers.
Rear-seat safety has been neglected since the 1990s, which is why Oklahoma residents may want to think twice about sitting in the back seat of a car. The discrepancy between rear and front seat safety, though, is due to recent improvements in front seat safety rather than any decline in rear-seat safety.