SYLVANIA and the Safety Mom Share a Lesson in Back to School Driving

After School Hours Most Dangerous Time for School Aged Kids HILLSBORO, N.H., Aug. 23, 2011 /PRNewswire Each year, parents send their children back to school, reminding them to watch out for traffic and in the case of teens, to drive safely. But with 55 percent of fatal accidents occurring between 3 and 7 p.m. and the fall season yielding a high number of child fatalities due to motor vehicle accidents, everyone needs a lesson in safe driving. In an effort to educate moms and dads on how to keep kids safe while on the go, SYLVANIA Automotive Lighting has teamed up with Alison Rhodes, the Safety Mom, to remind all drivers to make the roads safer by eliminating distractions and taking precautions to see and be seen. “Every day, drivers are faced with distractions of all kinds: phones, navigation systems and other passengers,” said Rhodes. “These distractions alone create dangerous driving situations for the driver, passengers, pedestrians and other motorists. But, with hundreds of thousands of kids and parents walking, biking, driving and carpooling back to school, it creates even more dangerous driving scenarios. All drivers need to take extra precautions to keep kids safe when the school season starts.” The after school hours have become one of the most dangerous times for school aged children – when dusk settles early, when rush hour is in full swing and drivers are more likely to drive distracted. The Safety Mom offers the following tips for parents and children for safe back to school travel:

  • Silence the Cell – Research from the University of Utah shows that using a cell phone while driving, whether it’s hand-held or hands-free, delays a driver’s reactions as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent. Pull over to the side of the road when using the phone or sending a text message.
  • Drive Undistracted – According to NHTSA, “inattentive driving” was the cause for 80 percent of all car accidents and 65 percent of near-misses. Avoid eating, grooming, using a navigation system and changing the radio station while driving. These top the list of accident-causing distractions.
  • Set a Good Example – Many teens mirror their parents’ driving habits and research shows that parents are more likely to drive distracted. According to The Century Council, 76 percent of parents eat or drink while driving, 55 percent talk on the phone, and 22 percent receive a text message. In comparison, 54 percent of teens eat or drink, 32 percent talk on the phone, and 24 percent receive a text message. Make sure you are setting a good example by practicing safe driving habits.
  • Light the Way – With dawn and dusk being the time when many students are waiting at bus stops or walking to and from school, good visibility is a key to safe driving in school zones. Because headlights dim over time – up to 20 percent in two years according to OSRAM SYLVANIA – upgrading to premium headlights can help to improve your visibility. “Many kids walk, bike or ride their boards home from after-school activities when it’s already getting dark out. Therefore, in addition to eliminating distractions, drivers need to ensure they have excellent visibility,” said Joe Verbanic, Marketing Manager for SYLVANIA Automotive Lighting. “Upgrading to a whiter, brighter headlight provides the extra downroad and sideroad visibility that could make a critical difference between an accident and avoidance.”
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