Tag Archives: Driving

Increased Use of Marijuana Leads to More Car Accidents, Studies Say

We have heard of the benefits that marijuana has for people with glaucoma and seizures, and of its usefulness in stopping cancer from spreading, but it does have its disadvantages.

In March of 2017, a bus crash that killed 12 people in Texas was caused by a 20 year old man who was under the influence of marijuana. A report released by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) found that there has been a increase in drug-related crashes, and that something must to be done to address it.

Even though the released report does not show an increase in deaths caused by legal use of marijuana, it does however show an increase in car crashes in general in correlation to the legal use of drugs.

The first study that was released by the Highway Loss Data Institute  found that crashes are up as much is 6% in states with legal weed use compared to neighboring states that haven’t legalized the drug’s use. This was done by study of insurance claims, with other studies also utilizing accidents reported by the police.

Other research found that drivers who smoke weed before driving display slower thinking, perceptual skills, and reaction times. These skills are of course are very important for someone who is operating heavy machinery, and are similarly impacted by those under the influence of more common drugs (such as alcohol) as well.

The NTSB said in their final statement that police across the country need more training and tools to handle situations like these.

Currently, there is no national standard nor standardized tests to determine if someone is under the influence of marijuana in the way that we have for alcohol. Eventually, a system will need to be created to hopefully stop accidents like the one in Texas.


Spring Break: Is Florida Really the Best Place?

Every year, spring break rolls around, and every year, the most popular thing to do is go to Florida for the week. And what’s not to love about sun, sand, and surf? But is it really all that it is cracked up to be?

One of the problems with going to Florida for spring break is that everyone goes there. It becomes an extremely crowded place where you have to fight for every step you take. It seems a little ridiculous to have to deal with massive overcrowding when you’re trying to relax. Then there is the drive to Florida. Obviously, it differs depending on where you are, but here in Virginia, it is roughly a 10 to 12-hour drive just to get to Florida, and the time increases the further south you go into the state. Now some people like road trips, and some people don’t, but I cannot imagine anyone enjoying being in a crowded car on crowded highways for 10 to 12 hours.

beach week
“One of the problems with going to Florida for spring break is that everyone goes there. It becomes an extremely crowded place where you have to fight for every step you take.” Photo from: https://www.washingtonian.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/bethany-beach-delaware_featured-994×559.jpg

I am not trying to say that Florida and going to the beach cannot be fun. Being able to relax on sunny shores and swimming and playing in the ocean is a great way to spend your time. There are also great places to eat down in Florida and, of course, plenty of fresh seafood. There’s a reason why Florida is such a popular place to go, and this is a well-earned title. However, I do not think it’s all it’s cracked up to be.

Probably sooner rather than later, people tend to run out of things to do. There’s only so much beach sitting and ocean swimming you can do. And I can’t help but wonder if part of the reason everyone goes to Florida is because that’s just the thing to do. Everyone else is going to the beach, so why shouldn’t you? But, then again, not everyone enjoys the same things and if people have fun going to Florida and the beach, then why not? It’s spring break; do whatever you’ll enjoy doing.

Above the ignorance

“I drive better when I’m drunk.”

“I wasn’t THAT drunk.”

“It’s not even that dangerous.”

If I had a dollar for every time I heard one of those phrases, I’d have about $10,228: the same number of deaths that occur a year from drinking and driving.

Just one shot could change your entire life. Graphic by Caitlin Lewis.
Just one shot could change your entire life. Graphic by Caitlin Lewis.

We, as teenagers and young adults, think we’re invincible. This is apparent in the number of teenagers and young adults who get behind the wheel of a car after a long night of drinking. Most of us don’t think anything of it. To some, it’s an every once in a while thing; to others, it’s a weekly occurrence. Continue reading Above the ignorance

No sleep, no safety

In theory, people know they need their sleep. Most of us need from seven to nine hours of rest each night, but many cut back in order to get more done during the day. Not getting enough sleep can lead to a multitude of health problems, but what if it led to something more serious? What if one late night led to you taking a life?

What do you do before you turn the ignition in your car? Driver’s education tells you to check the tires and mirrors, scan the backseat for unexpected passengers and fasten your seatbelt. Education, the media and common sense tell us to never, ever drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. But how many of us are responsible enough to know if we’re too tired to drive?

Driving while drowsy can be extraordinarily dangerous. Dwindling alertness, diminished reaction time and fading senses can all affect a person’s ability to safely operate a vehicle. It doesn’t matter how experienced you are; if you fall asleep behind the wheel for even a second, you are putting your life and others’ lives at serious risk. Much longer than that, and there will almost certainly be an accident. Avoiding driving while drowsy is one way to prevent accidents, injuries and deaths on the roadway. Here are a few tips to keep yourself and others safe.

Photo from Creative Commons.

If you know you’re exhausted and you don’t have to drive, don’t. Being under the influence of sleep deprivation is not the time for a spur of the moment trip to the grocery store. If you have plans to go somewhere with a friend, offer them gas money and ask them to drive. And conversely, if you’ve got a sleepy friend, offer to drive them. Consider calling a cab for shorter trips, or take public transportation. If you absolutely must drive, get some caffeine in your system. It may not be a perfect solution, but it’s a temporary solution to raise alertness. And if you feel yourself dozing off, pull over; being a few minutes late to work is worth potentially saving a life.

A May 31 accident on I-95 about 30 miles out from Richmond, Va., highlights the deadly risks of driving while drowsy. Kin Yiu Cheung, a driver for North Carolina based Sky Express Inc., was charged with reckless driving when driving while drowsy caused him to wreck the tour bus he was driving. This accident led to the deaths of 4 people and 56 more being injured as a result.

Only one state–New Jersey–has a law against knowingly driving while sleep deprived. But like anything else, it’s up to drivers to take responsibility for what they do before and after getting behind the wheel. Driving while intoxicated, distracted driving and driving while drowsy are all risk factors for accidents. Avoid them all, and you do your part in keeping the roadways safe.