MORRISVILLE, N.C., Nov. 21, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- You've packed, filled the gas tank and loaded the car. Your seat belt is buckled; you aren't under the influence and the baby is in a properly-connected carseat. Don't go yet; you're not ready, and what's missing could result in you becoming a statistic this holiday weekend.
According to the National Safety Council, there will be an estimated 451 traffic fatalities this 4.25-day holiday period and 48,300 nonfatal injuries. There are many reasons for these crashes, but one that is often overlooked is the disabled-vehicle crash.
Disabled- and stopped-vehicle crashes account for thousands of injuries and deaths every year, but drivers are largely unaware of how dangerous these situations can be. These accidents are caused when a vehicle is stopped along the roadway because of a flat tire, fender-bender or engine trouble and then is hit by another driver who doesn't see it in time to slow down or go around.
Nancy McMeekin, President of The St. Christopher Project, an organization whose mission is to raise awareness of the dangers of roadway emergency stops, says average drivers are not aware of the dangers, frequently walk around their vehicles and are completely unprepared to protect themselves in a highway emergency.
"First responders have emergency lights, road workers have lights and signs, and large trucks must put out orange triangles," she explains, "but the ordinary driver carries nothing to protect them in the event of an emergency," she says. "This is a deadly mistake, because you never know when your car will become disabled on the roadway, and plastic bags and hazard lights are not enough to make you visible to oncoming drivers."
The St. Christopher Project publishes an updated list of these crashes at https://accident-reports-archive, showing just how frequently they occur, and how deadly they can be.
"We gather these crashes because no one else does," McMeekin says. "If you look at how dangerous these situations are, if you read the stories of lives cut short, you'll add protective measures to increase your visibility during a roadway stop."
The North Carolina Department of Transportation says 18% of freeway fatalities occur in secondary crashes and will be launching a program in 2013 to clear freeway crashes more quickly.
"North Carolina is tackling this problem," McMeekin says, "but it's up to every driver to prepare for this kind of emergency. In those first few minutes, you and your loved ones are in grave danger from distracted drivers on crowded roadways."
About the company:
The St. Christopher Project LLC is developer of patent-pending CrashFlasher™ Roadway Emergency Light and Safety Kit, available at www.crashflasher.com. CrashFlasher's 16 LED lights flash a warning 360 degrees from nearly five feet above the roof of a vehicle. Portable and easily assembled in under a minute, CrashFlasher has no loose parts and requires no tools. The Safety Kit also includes a high-visibility vest, flashlight and reflective case. Retail price is $119.97 but a holiday gift special price of $99.97 is currently offered. CrashFlasher Safety Kits have been purchased by individuals as well as corporate and government fleet safety directors from coast-to-coast and in Canada and the UK since going on the market in September.
St. Christopher Project LLC
4201 Grace Park Drive
Morrisville, NC 27560-7372
SOURCE The St. Christopher Project