Accidents- A thing of the past?

How can we avoid car accidents? Maybe through careful planning, maybe through correct seating, or through high technology & through crash-proof design.

Falling asleep

In a recent independent survey, an alarming one on ten motorists admitted to having momentarily fallen asleep at the wheel. I am sure that you don’t have trouble believing that. Driving when tired obviously increases the risk of an accident, and according to the DETR (Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions), driver fatigue is the principal factor in 10% of all road accidents. Nevertheless, only 17% of motorists in the survey said they take a break on a long journey because they feel tired.

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Falling asleep

It seems that half the drivers questioned choose to combat tiredness by opening a window, chatting to passengers or turning up the radio. If you try something like that I can assure you that none of these “solution” really works. Experts will tell you that stopping to take a short walk is definitely a better idea. In fact, the DETR recommends drivers take a short break of 15 minutes after every two hours of driving: how many of us do that?
However, the best way to ensure you stay healthy on a long drive is to, first of all, make sure you’re not tired before you set off, take regular breaks on the way and, if you do feel drowsy, stop in a safe place – not the hard shoulder – and have a short nap.

Driving in a poor position

Another source of driving fatigue is poorly designed seating. According to a study by the Osteopathic Information Service, 80% of motorists suffer from back pain and one in four will suffer at worst, permanent discomfort from driving in a poor position. But the importance being placed by new car buyers on the support the driver’s seat offers is alarmingly low, with as few as 30% of people questioned having taken it into consideration when choosing their new car.

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Safe car seat

Correct seating while driving is imperative to help prevent the spine and muscles from being placed under continuous stress. However many cars do not provide the support that is needed to achieve this, particularly as everybody has different ergonomic needs depending on their physical form.
If you are driving on a long journey stop at regular intervals to stretch your legs and relax – when kept in one position for too long muscles tend to stiffen up and become strained.
Ensure you are positioned for maximum comfort – your hips and knees should be well flexed, with arms relaxed and bent to the wheel.

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Right Driving Position

Alternatively you could install a specialist seat in your car. Sports seat makers Recaro have, for example, launched something called the Orthopaed to the British market. This seat has been designed to alleviate problems caused by prolonged sitting and poor posture and works by providing support for the lumbar vertebrae – the curved sections of the lower spine, which needs special support when a driver is in a seated position.
When using the Recaro Orthopaed, weight is evenly distributed leaving the vertebrae and muscles relaxed – an important consideration if you want to prevent injuries and prevent fatigue on long journeys.

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Recaro Orthopaed

You can take all these measures of course – buy the right seat, take plenty of respite stops, everything – but there’s no accounting for the unexpected. Or is there?

Extra safeguards technology

Car maker Nissan reckons new technology could provide extra safeguards on our ever more dangerous roads. They’re now developing systems that can predict when a driver is about to make a dangerous maneuver, such as overtaking into oncoming traffic.

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By monitoring behavior, the car builds up a picture of what the driver will do next, and if need be activates warning or override systems to prevent an accident. Driving simulation tests showed the Nissan system to be nearly 100% accurate at predicting drivers’ moves for 12 sec ahead.
The predictive system relies on the fact that driver behavior can be broken down into long chains of simple commands and actions. To make its prediction the car uses a computer to process information from sensors on the steering wheel, accelerator and brake. When a pattern emerges, the system predicts the most likely action to follow.
The prediction technique is similar to that used in speech recognition PC software. The system continuously updates the probabilities of next actions, so it can adapt to new drivers’ styles.
According to the Department of Transport, there were 236,923 road accidents in the UK last year caused by driver error, which resulted in 3,421 deaths.

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Drive Safe

So it’s better for you to be very careful when you are driving and don’t ignore our advices and not only ours, policeman advices and all authorities advices. Drive safe!

Tags: cars, car accidents, predict, tires, falling asleep, Nissan, Recaro Orthopaed, sport seat, wheel, road accidents, driver error, extra safeguards technology, advices

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1 Comment

  1. john Said,

    April 19, 2010 @ 1:44 am

    fail. the “correct driving position” diagram shows the driver with his hands in his lap! to be on the steering wheel they would need to go up at least 8 to 10 inches, which means he would need to straighten his arms, bend his knees and move forward, or both.

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