Traffic accidents inflict high casualties annually. Roads leave people with terminal injuries and severe disabilities. Unfortunately, traffic injuries cause significant economic loss to victims, families, and the country. They lead to an increased cost of treatment as well as reduced productivity. Vehicle accidents, which are a result of many causes such as weather and other traffic hazards, are a threat both to drivers and rescue teams, and their frequency can be reduced once several basic rules are followed.
Road safety can be considerably influenced by weather, particularly by precipitation, high winds, and extreme temperatures which impact the capability of the driver and the performance of the vehicle. A new analysis of federal data indicates that weather hazard is the most common cause of car accidents in the whole world. Every year, 5,748,000 vehicles crash in the accidents. 22% of cases related to weather, especially to rain, sleet, fog, and the wind. The majority of these crashes occur on wet pavements and amount to 73%. Rainfall cause 46% of accidents. A small percentage occurs during winter: snow cases equal 17%, icy pavement constitutes 13%, and 3% result from the presence of fog (Jaeger & Huss, 2011). Lane submersion hinders the ability to control the cars due to flooding and lane obstruction from the accumulation of snow and wind-blown debris. Unfavorable weather conditions combined with other factors result in hazardous conditions. For example, large trucks in high wind cause road closures and access restrictions that decrease the roadway capacity. Thus, the weather might be the disadvantage which reduces arterial mobility and the effectiveness of traffic signal timing plans. Moreover, it also decreases speed to 25% on wet pavements and 40% on snowy sidewalks.
Adverse weather increases operation and maintenance costs for agencies that control winter road, traffic management, and law enforcement thus impacting productivity. Every year trucking companies lose billions of money due to weather-related congestion in metropolitan areas. The problems of traffic lead to numerous road accidents with casualties (Smith, 2013). Moreover, scientists proved that the shift in weather patterns caused by climate changes can create dangerous situations on the roads. For instance, higher temperature causes additional death of 849 pedestrians and bicyclists, Moreover, sudden shift from snow to rain can also change the number of injuries and casualties. Consequently, the weather is a serious hazard that provokes accidents and affects both drivers and road conditions.
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Any traffic hazard, such as tree, bush, or structure, can obstruct or hinder the ability of the operator of the motor vehicle to see another vehicle approaching him/her on the same lane and to notice the pedestrian traversing the street. In such dreadful conditions, children who cross the road may be involved in an accident if the driver is obstructed trying to avoid an ensuing collision (Ha & Thill, 2011). On the other hand, the time of the day during which the vehicles are driven matters tremendously. Studies show that night driving is more dangerous compared to day driving. However, driving in the daytime is still hazardous. However, night driving multiplies the risk of an accident, especially when one cannot see what is ahead and what to expect. Sunlight is the strongest source of light. When it sets, it is harder to react properly to the changes of light. For example, eyes cannot instantly adjust to dark when the headlights of oncoming traffic appear in front. Darkening sky is also a challenge since the disparity between light and dark causes vision problems to drivers leading to unwanted accidents.
Overall, SUV drivers are much safer than those in other mid-size cars. The report on death rate influenced by vehicle style shows that small cars appear in the accidents more often than the big cars. A high mortality rate of 4-door mini-cars accounts for 82% in comparison to 46% of large 4-door vehicles (Ward, 2012). This survey examines how both vehicle design and driving behavior affect road accidents. SUV, minivan and large car drivers drive different than those who have small and mid-size cars. Thus, people should also understand their responsibility for a high mortality rate. High center of gravity in most vehicles may cause rollover accidents compared to those with a low center of gravity. It usually happens when a vehicle tries to leave the road or when it makes a sharp directional adjustment. Company cars are not often noticed in accidents comparing to sports vehicles. It means that they are equipped with electronic stability control to prevent rollovers on flat surfaces.
Every driver has to be aware of the basic safety measures which can help avoid road accidents or even save one’s life. Vehicles with gasoline leak or Class III diesel are more likely to cause accidents than those without any leak. The brake system works on the system of hydraulic pressure that helps to maintain weight or pressure. If the amount of brake fluid is low, the pressure will probably drop resulting in brake failure. Timely brake fluid inspection is essential since it allows to find and solve the problem earlier. However, when brake fluid leak appears unexpectedly, a person should use flashlights and sports lights to notify others and to prevent head-on collision (Matsumura & Matsushima, 2012). Furthermore, leakages are often the cause of car fire since the fuel pressure regulator and the fuel injector are subjected to high pressure leading to ignition.
Firefighters and Location
Road accidents are a considerable threat not only to drivers but to rescue team members as well. Firefighters and EMTs face serious risk to health being often involved in crossroad collisions. They also may suffer when they should change their direction and avoid civilian traffic. The tankers that are carrying hundreds of gallons of water usually appear in the accidents. According to the research, the number of firefighters died in traffic crashes is higher than the number of smoke or collapse casualties is (Viahogianni, Yannis & Golias, 2012). Fire trucks and ambulances often crash on each other since the workers should quickly reach the emergency site to save their lives. Risk driving practices, such as extreme speed and dangerous passing maneuvers, are the main factors of car accidents.
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The location contributes to the emergence of accidents. Previous research shows that highway traffic accidents on curves caused by run-off curves crash happen more frequently. “Horizontal curve radius with a radius less than 600m will increase the rate of accidents occurrence” (Tarko, Leckrone & Anastasopoulos, 2012). The limitation of sight distance resulting from crest curves has a frequency of 52%. Thus, vertical sag curves are safer. Moreover, the grade has a direct effect on the occurrence of accidents since it lowers driving visibility. Research also indicates that roads in the direction of downgrade cause more safety problems than the roads of the upgrade route do. Undoubtedly, if the grade level is above 6%, there are high chances of crashing.
Across the country, traffic accidents are the second leading cause of death and injuries after the cancer disease. Obviously road accidents depend on many factors, including weather and road conditions. Vehicle accidents not only cause bodily injuries and death but also lead to financial damage to the involved parties. Therefore, in order to avoid the problems related to traffic, it is paramount that the participants remain responsible and cautious.
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