It's tax time, which means lots of Missourians will be on the move this afternoon, trying to ensure that their returns are mailed on time. We urge residents of Columbia, Jefferson City, and the surrounding areas to exercise special caution if you're planning a last minute drive to the post office: new research has shown that the risk of a fatal car accident increases by 6%.
The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association on April 10, presented these findings:
• Over the past 30 years, throughout the country, 19,500 Americans have been killed in car accidents on Tax Day, amounting to 226 deaths each day.
• By comparison, 13,000 were killed on "control days" (a week before and a week after Tax Day).
• The conclusion, according to the study, is that an additional 13 people die in accidents every year on Tax Day. Researchers suggested that the increase is "similar in magnitude to the increase in crashes on Super Bowl Sunday."
The study wasn't able to conclusively identify a specific causal factor, but offers a few theories as to the "why" behind this increase:
• "Stressful [deadlines] distract drivers and contribute to human error," the study suggests.
• Also, it's possible that drivers "may have consumed alcohol, changed their driving pattern, or had less sleep on Tax Day," summarizes CBS News.
There is much you can do to avoid a Missouri car accident, today and year-round. Here are 4 types of car wrecks that are 100% preventable, when attentive drivers make responsible choices:
To avoid car/motorcycle crashes, be aware of your surroundings. Check and recheck your blind spots. If you are driving behind a motorcycle, never tailgate. Always leave ample room to stop and avoid the motorcycle.
To avoid car/train wrecks in Missouri, follow all safety precautions. Never cross the tracks if the safety arm is down or the red lights are flashing. Be aware of your surroundings: know that you must stop at least 10 yards from the tracks; that trains are wider than tracks; and that an out of control car may push you from behind onto the track. Thus, it's important to put on your brakes, leave ample room between your vehicle and the tracks, and turn your steering wheel to the right.
Never attempt to outrun a train, and be aware that railroad track usage can change at any time. Therefore, a train may be using an apparently abandoned track, or a train may approach from the opposite direction.
Distracted Driving Accidents
The most important thing to remember is that when you drive, you should only drive: don't think of time in the car as time where you're free to complete certain tasks. If you absolutely must text, make a hands-on call, check a map, eat, put on make-up, read, attend to your children or pets or pick something up of the floor of your car, do other motorists a favor: pull off the road to a safe place and attend to your business.
Drunk Driving Accidents
Never drink within two hours of driving, and never drink alcohol on an empty stomach. Eat carbohydrates. Don't mix caffeine and alcohol, because caffeine can mask the effects of alcohol. Be aware that drinking alcohol with carbonated beverages (i.e. soda) increases the absorption of alcohol into your system.
Be aware that (in general) men can only handle two drinks before they are legally drunk, and women can only drink one drink before they are legally impaired. Contrary to popular belief, people who weigh more get drunk faster than people who weigh less.
The best rule of thumb: if you have been drinking, just don't drive. Stay where you are; call a parent, friend, car service for ride; or ride with a designated driver.