Friday, February 25, 2011

usRAP Working to Make Safety as Much a Priority as Speed When Planning a Road Trip

As featured on the front page of February 23rd’s USA Today, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is studying ways to help drivers navigate the safest route to their destination thanks to the United States Road Assessment Program (usRAP). Pilot programs have been conducted in eight states—Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico and Utah—with more states to be added this year. These pilots used crash and other relevant safety data to map the relative risk of roadways in the states. The goal over the next few years is to implement usRAP nationwide and ultimately use data and technology to provide drivers with information for avoiding dangerous corridors at the touch of their GPS navigational screen. By doing this, drivers could access the safest route from place to place in addition to the fastest or least congested.

According to a recent foundation survey of 2,141 drivers, 73% said they would consider this type of information helpful when seeking driving directions in unfamiliar areas, such as traveling out of town for business or on long car trips with the family. usRAP was initiated to more effectively manage road safety and ensure that assessment of risk plays a key role in strategic decisions on road improvements, crash prevention and standards of route management.

To learn more, take a look at our brochure, or view maps of high risk areas in states from the program’s early phases.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

LaHood Highlights AAA's Contribution To Driver Education

Earlier today, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood gave special recognition in his blog to the AAA Family for the extensive contributions made over the years in the area of driver education. The Secretary acknowledged AAA’s work in supporting teen driver education, including a new teen website containing information useful for parents and teens, as well as contributions and research that have been made on other issues such as driver distraction and drunk driving.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has been a strong contributor to the AAA Family’s success in these areas over the years. The Foundation has conducted research related to Graduated Licensing, brought awareness to the problem of cell phone use while driving and highlighted the repeated dangers of drunk driving during the holidays.

I’m proud of the work the AAA Foundation has done and will continue to do in support of the AAA family’s goal of improving the safety of our roads through both driver education and meaningful research.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Winter Weather Means You Need To Adapt Your Driving

Mother Nature has brought harsh conditions to many regions already this winter and recent weather reports seem to be predicting more of the same. While winter can be a great time for traveling and fun activities like skiing, snowboarding and ice skating, it’s important that drivers learn how to adapt to the challenging conditions winter can present.

The most important thing you can do while driving in winter weather is simply to slow down and pay close attention to your surroundings. Driving at higher speeds can cause tires to spin or “fishtail”, but moving a slower speed will help you maintain control of your car when going across patches of ice and snow. It’s also important to pay extra attention to how others around you are driving. This can help give you a clue about the road conditions ahead, but you should always try to compensate for the weather by giving yourself added stopping distance between you and the car in front of you. Here are some other quick tips:

•Understand what kind of brakes your car has (standard or anti-lock) and how to use them in slippery road conditions.

•Plan ahead by checking road condition reports before you drive and leaving early to give yourself time to drive slowly and safely.

•Put a winter driving kit in your car that includes blankets, water, snacks, a first-aid kit, cell phone, shovel and kitty litter or sand.

I also suggest that all drivers take a look at these AAA brochures, Get A Grip and How to Go on Ice and Snow. For more tips on how to prepare for and handle driving in winter weather, visit the AAAExchange website.