There are a lot of wonderful things about the winter, including multiple holidays, festive gatherings and the company of friends and family. However, one of the major downsides of winter is the weather. Snow and ice can make driving stressful and dangerous. Luckily, there are several things Oklahoma drivers can do to ensure they stay safe during the coldest months of the year.
With the end of Daylight Saving Time, many drivers in Oklahoma find themselves traveling in the nighttime. This brings a certain set of challenges. While people do only a quarter of their driving at night, 50 percent of traffic deaths occur during this period. Drivers should therefore be aware of those challenges and what they can do to mitigate them.
Parents of teen drivers in Oklahoma may have heard that National Teen Driver Safety Week was held in October. As part of this program, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety released some research data showing how teen drivers often face increased risks for fatal accidents.
Drivers on Oklahoma roadways are likely to overestimate the abilities of vehicle safety technologies like adaptive cruise control, according to the results of a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. A senior researcher on the project said that a substantial proportion of the people who responded were unaware of the limitations of the technologies. The study suggests that American drivers may need more education before they are ready to switch to self-driving cars, which require the drivers to be alert and ready to take the wheel.
The mobile workforce in Oklahoma has become constantly connected via smartphone, and this may be the reason why it sees such high auto accident rates in recent years. Motus, the vehicle management and reimbursement platform, has made a link between the two trends in its 2018 Distracted Driving Report.
Oklahoma residents should know about the danger of hydroplaning; that way, they will be prepared the next time they head out in the rain. Hydroplaning occurs when a vehicle slides or skids uncontrollably on a wet surface. The risk for hydroplaning is at its greatest during the first 10 minutes or so of rainfall because the water will immediately mix with the oily residue on the road; after that period, the residue tends to wash away.
Oklahoma residents, especially teen drivers and their parents, might be interested in the results of a study conducted by the National Institutes for Health. Together with Virginia Tech University, researchers analyzed the behaviors of 90 teen drivers in Virginia from the time they obtained their learner's permits to their first year as licensed drivers. Using dashcam footage and software data, they found that licensed teen drivers are less safe.
Drivers distracted by cellphones are involved in about one in four motor vehicle accidents around the country. Public information campaigns warning Oklahoma motorists about the dangers of using cellphones while behind the wheel have had little impact, and most road safety advocates believe that the problem will get worse rather than better in the years ahead. A team of Australian researchers polled 447 drivers about their attitudes toward distracted driving and cellphone use, and they found that more than two-thirds of them thought the dangers were overblown.
In 2016, there was a report from Morgan Stanley entitled "Are Auto Insurers on the Road to Nowhere?" which estimated that with the introduction of driverless cars, the auto insurance industry would dwindle by 80 percent by 2040. Oklahoma residents should know that newer research, in addition to the spate of fatal accidents involving driverless cars, is painting a different picture of the future.
Oklahoma residents who are wary about going out on the road on holidays have good reason for it. A recent analysis from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows that Independence Day is the deadliest holiday in America for fatal car crashes. The IIHS studied fatal car crash data from 2010 to 2014, 2014 being the last year with accurate data, and found that every year on July 4, an average of 118 people died.