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Insight from WFPD: Don't become a statistic, remember to click it

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opinion Fargo, 58102
West Fargo Pioneer
(701) 241-5487 customer support
Fargo North Dakota 101 5th Street North 58102

The number of deaths on North Dakota roads in 2011 has surpassed last year's total, with one-and-a-half months remaining. One hundred and twenty-five people had died on North Dakota roads by mid-November of this year. The 125 dead were the result of 113 crashes which occurred during the time reported. That compares to 105 fatalities in all of 2010.

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Sixty-four of the reported deaths occurred in 43 alcohol related crashes. Another common denominator in the fatalities was the failure to use occupant restraints. So far this year, approximately 70 percent of the people killed weren't wearing seat belts. Many of the crashes involved single vehicles which left the roadway and rolled. Unrestrained, the occupants were partially or completed ejected.

Over-driving the roadway conditions and over-steering contribute to a great number of the traffic crashes. The condition of the road surface can change quickly due to precipitation, ice or compacted snow or other materials found upon the roadway. When the tires of a vehicle no longer have the friction necessary to maintain traction with the road surface the driver has lost control. By slowing down and avoiding abrupt attempts to steer or brake the vehicle the tires will typically regain traction and the driver will reestablish control.

Over-steering normally occurs when a vehicle begins to leave the roadway. The driver attempts to steer the vehicle back onto the roadway by abruptly turning the wheel. The sharply turned wheels will no longer roll forward in their normal state but will slide sideways on the sidewall of the tire. The increased friction may cause the vehicle to go into a sideways skid. Once in a skid, the vehicle will continue its sideways movement until it losses momentum or the tires catch against an obstruction and the vehicle rolls over.

A driver must learn to anticipate conditions that may affect the condition of the road surface and adjust their driving accordingly. Changing weather conditions or construction activity ahead can signal a hazardous condition may be present. A vehicle traveling at a speed greater than the conditions allow can result in the loss of the driver's ability to properly control the vehicle.

Always drive defensively by anticipating the worst road conditions you may face. Protect yourself and the other occupants. As soon as you take your place in a motor vehicle you should secure your seatbelt. Your next action should be to ensure all the other occupants of the vehicle are properly secured. Click it, every time every trip.

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