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Most of us have been in a situation where we have followed another driver to a destination, which can be a stressful situation You probably have run lights and swerved in front of other vehicles just to keep the lead vehicle in sight. New research suggests that we should choose to not follow another driver to an unknown location.

Frontiers in Psychology completed a study recently that found that when you follow another vehicle you are, in fact, more likely to engage in dangerous driving maneuvers. This research was carried out by Professor Robert Gray at the Arizona State University and inspired by a case where a person was seriously injured in a "following another driver" scenario. For the study's purposes, Professor Grey compared 3 driving scenarios in a simulator: 1) normal driving, 2) driving using a GPS system to find a location; and, 3) following another driver to get to a location.

Here are the resulting driving behaviors of the "following drivers":
1) They drove faster and more erratically.
2) They drove closer to the car in front and made quicker lane changes.
3) They were more likely to cut in front of a pedestrian crossing the road.
4) They were more likely to speed through traffic lights, which were turning from yellow to red.

It should be noted that the vehicle being followed in the study did not engage in illegal or risky driving behaviors. By using a computerized driving simulation, the researchers were able to eliminate the "contagious effect", where a driver's behavior can be influenced by the traffic around them. Drivers can often feel a social pressure to maintain the same speeds as other vehicles and run traffic lights when other vehicles do the same.

The study concluded that instead of following another driver, you should get the address where you need to go and put it into a hands-free GPS system. While GPS systems are not perfect, your driving tends to be safer while using them compared to following another driver.

ScienceDaily Daily Mail NHTSA Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

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The Highway Loss Data Institute, which is affiliated with the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety, has recently shown that states with legalized marijuana have shown an increase in car crashes. The states with legalized marijuana are Colorado, Washington and Oregon.

According to the HLDI, past researchers haven't been able to "definitively connect marijuana use with real-world crashes," and even a federal study failed to find such a link. "Studies on the effects of legalizing marijuana for medical use have also been inconclusive." said the HLDI.

The HLDI focused on Colorado (starting in 2014), as well as Oregon and Washington (starting in 2015). They compared the collision claims in these states to the collision claims in neighboring states, such as Nevada and Utah, which only permit medical marijuana. They also factored in statistics regarding the three states where recreational use is now legal from before it became available to the general public.

The results of the study are as follows:
Colorado saw a 14% increase in crashes.
Washington saw a 6% increase in crashes.
Oregon saw a 4% increase in crashes.
The combined effect of all states was lower at 3%.

Ever driver must know that driving after having smoked or eaten marijuana is considered driving while intoxicated. Please don't do this.

Marijuana Marijuana World News Legalize Marijuana Marijuana Majority Legalize it, don't Criticize it Legalize It Legalize It. We Think So. Maryland Legalize Marijuana Driving

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Brake calipers are one of the most important components of modern disc braking systems. Calipers work in conjunction with the brake pads, rotors and hydraulic system to slow the vehicle. YourMechanic states, "When the pedal is pressed, brake fluid pressure is pushed through the master cylinder to the caliper, which extends the piston and forces the brake pads against the rotors to slow the vehicle." Calipers don't get stuck or break often, but when it does happen, it's critical that you get your brake system with the caliper fixed immediately. You can avoid broken calipers altogether by having a mechanic regularly maintain or replace your brakes.

Signs of a stuck/broken caliper:
1) Your vehicle will pull to one side when braking or while driving. It will feel like you have to fight the steering wheel to keep the vehicle in a straight line.
2) There will be heat coming off the wheels after the vehicle has been driven.
3) The brakes might not seem to release all the way after you let go of the brake pedal.
4) You might hear a loud scraping noise, which would be a worn down brakes caused by the stuck/broken caliper.

Causes of stuck/broken caliper:
1) Intense heat could cause the caliper to go out, which would be more prevalent in the summertime.
2) The brake pad shims could get caught, or debris could build up in between the spaces. If this happens, the pads will not be able to slide in and out correctly, causing the caliper to stick. Please see a mechanic who will be able to clean the brake pad shims, or replace the brake pads with new ones, if needed.
2) The brake hose could wear out, which would cause the brake fluid to not be able to return to the master cylinder. Please see a mechanic because a brake hose replacement might be required.
4) Brake caliper bolts can break off if a mechanic over-tightens them.

If you suspect that you have a stuck/broken caliper, stop the vehicle, put it in park, and turn off the engine. Place your hand near the wheel, without touching it, and see if you can feel heat. Be sure to not touch the rim because this could cause severe burns.

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On The Road [Download PDF]

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Woman turning son’s tragic death into crusade for older driver safety – June 1, 2015

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Kansas City Star – June 1, 2015

NHTSA Announces New 5-Year Traffic Safety Plan and Guidelines for Older Drivers and Passengers
NHTSA – December 5th, 2013

Older Drivers Would Have To Renew Licenses Every 4-Years
WSAU – December 10, 2013

75 Is The New Old: VA DMV Study Recommends Fitness Tests For Aging Drivers
The Washington Times – December 15, 2013

Bill Proposes Changing In-Person Renewal For Older Drivers In Virginia
Daily Press – January 13, 2014

Proposal: Wisconsin Legislation to Require More Vision Exams
The Journal Times – January 2, 2014

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JHU Public Health Magazine: End of the Road