If you’ve ever had someone tell you about crashing their car, or if you’ve ever spoken about getting into a collision yourself, the conversation probably began with these words: “I was in an accident.” Whether it’s a story in the news or a personal anecdote, most people tend to use “accident” when talking about a crash. But for the past several years, we at DriversEd.com have made it an in-house policy to use “collision” or “crash” instead of “accident” in our courses, our promotional materials, and everywhere else we describe the dangers of unsafe driving.
The truth is, the use of the word “accident” to describe a crash can be very misleading. Few collisions are truly accidental. “Accident” describes an event that occurs by random happenstance, but the vast majority of crashes aren’t random. Most collisions occur because at least one driver makes a bad decision, performs the wrong maneuver, or isn’t paying attention to what’s going on. Frequently, crashes like these don’t have to happen—and if the driver were more focused on driving, they probably wouldn’t.
In cities and towns all over the country, more and more people are using bicycles to get around. If you think about it, this should come as no surprise: they’re lightweight, portable, and inexpensive—and to use them, you don’t need to have an insurance policy or buy gas all the time, either! But though bicycles promote fitness and have a low impact on the environment, some drivers still believe that bicyclists don’t belong on the road.
One thing we need to clear up right away: across the U.S., bicyclists are allowed to use most of the same roads as car and truck drivers (though bikes are generally not allowed on freeways and interstates). In every state, the law specifies that bicycle riders have the same rights and responsibilities that drivers do. This means that bicyclists must obey STOP signs and red lights (except in some states), pay attention and signal their intentions to turn, and never ride while intoxicated. It also means that drivers must be prepared to yield to a bicyclist in any situation they’d yield to a driver.
Easy question for those of you who are getting ready to get your first driver’s license: what part of your driving test are you most worried about? If your palms are sweating just thinking about the Parallel Parking requirement, you’re not alone—parallel parking can strike terror into the heart of even the most experienced driver. And the auto industry seems to know your fear, and stands ready to capitalize on it: many manufacturers have started to add automatic parking features to new models. Here’s a Ford Motor Company marketing video, touting the technology on their Lincoln MKT and MKS models:
Pretty fancy, right? According to a recent study conducted by AAA, it’s also pretty safe. Autoblog.com’s Pete Bigelow reports that AAA’s research into self-parking cars—conducted using 5 new model cars that have auto-park features—shows that self-parking cars did a much better job at parallel parking than those driven by humans.
The article also mentions a survey conducted by DriversEd.com’s parent company, eDriving; we’ve talked about that poll before, but it’s worth revisiting when talking about the pros and cons of automated parking systems. As part of their research into self-parking cars, AAA found that most Americans actually think they’re quite good at parallel parking, and don’t need to relinquish the wheel to K.I.T.T., thank you very much. But the results of AAA’s tests of those cars—as well as our poll results, which reveal that most of us think we’re better drivers than we actually are—both make a good case for the self-parking car.
That said, we think learning how to parallel park is an essential part of your driver training. Is it tricky? Sure, but with the proper instruction, it’s a skill that’s easy to master—and it’s crucial to do so, since parallel parking is something that all drivers will need to do at some point. It’s also worth noting that only a handful of current car models come equipped with automatic parking systems (and most of those tend to fall on the high end of the pricing spectrum). Finally, as with just about every automated system, the technology in self-parking cars is not infallible. By taking the time to learn how to parallel park, you’ll reduce your chances of a collision (and possibly an injury to yourself and others), you’ll help keep your insurance costs down, you’ll give yourself a bit of confidence—and you’ll give your parents some peace of mind. And you won’t be this person:
If you’re getting out of town for the long weekend, we’ve got some advice for you. eDriving recently commissioned a poll to find out about people’s driving experiences and thoughts. What we learned can help save your Labor Day road trip.
Arguing in the Car
We asked over 2,000 people to tell us what they argue about when they’re in the car. Here’s what we found:
- Younger drivers tend to argue about music. Almost half of the drivers between ages 18 and 34 said they argue about what to listen to on the radio.
- Older drivers argue less. Over 40% of drivers ages 55-64 and 65+ said they don’t argue about anything at all.
- But when older drivers do argue, they argue about speed. Drivers in age groups over 35 argue the most about driving faster or slower.
- People don’t really care about who’s driving. Across all age groups, people argue the least about who should be in the driver’s seat.
To improve road safety, there are several things we can do. First, we can pass new laws or strengthen the laws that already exist in order to discourage dangerous driving behaviors. Second, we can improve how these laws are enforced by hiring more peace officers or making certain offenses a higher priority. Read More
1. Hitting the Road
Road trip, my friends! That’s right, y’all, your beloved Director of Content Marketing finally hooked up a (brief) vacation. Realizing that no summer is worth the name without a road trip—and realizing that I hadn’t actually gone on a road trip in years—I grabbed a rental car and my girlfriend and headed south, out of my beloved Oakland and to the Grand Canyon, for an old friend’s wedding reception. Read More
Driving in a parking lot doesn’t seem like it should be that hard. After all, cars go slowly, the lanes are clearly marked, and there aren’t a lot of driving rules or traffic controls to worry about. But in fact, parking lot crashes account for 14% of all insurance claims, and some research suggests that as many as one in five crashes occurs in a parking lot! Read More
If there’s one thing that everyone who’s ever taken a drivers ed course is familiar with, it’s those movies. You know the ones. A crash survivor remembers the friend who wasn’t so lucky. A grieving parent mourns the child they’ll never see again. A critically-injured driver recalls the bad decision that left them disabled for life. Read More
If we’re in a hurry, it can be easy to get frustrated with pedestrians who dawdle in the crosswalk or start crossing in the middle of the street without even looking first. When we’re on foot, however, suddenly it’s the people behind the wheel who seem aggressive, inconsiderate, or entitled—backing up without checking, stopping in the crosswalk, or creeping around the corner before we’ve had a chance to clear the intersection. Read More
May was National Bike Month, and DriversEd.com celebrated by participating in the 2015 Bay Area Company Bike Challenge. With just three team members, we biked a total of 426.4 miles—just 73.6 miles short of our goal of 500! Read More