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Distracted driving can leave a trail of mayhem

Distracted driving is a major hazard on South Carolina roadways. In 2015, nearly 3,500 people were killed due to distracted driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Considering the increasing popularity of smartphone use, the problem could be getting worse.

While distracted driving leads to a large number of deaths, the vast majority of victims escape with injuries. Approximately 391,000 people were injured in 2015 crashes related to distracted driving. Texting while driving is perhaps the most infamous form of distracted driving because its effects can be so severe. When a driver going 55 miles per hour pulls their eyes from the road to text for five seconds, they will drive the length of a football field. On far too many occasions, that distracted period can end in a severe crash.

Learning the common causes of highway deaths

The highways of South Carolina see their fair share of accidents, many of them fatal. Understanding what the most common factors are in these accidents may help drivers be more alert. Some factors may inevitably force drivers to drive more cautiously, such as wet roads. Rain and snow also reduce visibility. Highway designs, when built around certain geographical features, may naturally incorporate tight curves and narrow shoulders. Drivers could also come upon blind intersections.

Most highway fatalities are due to human negligence or recklessness. For instance, drivers can engage in distracted behavior like eating, adjusting the radio, and even putting on makeup. With smartphones and in-car entertainment systems, the temptation to take one's attention from the road is greater than ever. Another factor in fatalities can be anger. Road rage leads many to make irrational and unsafe decisions.

Dealing with soft tissue injuries

For many South Carolina victims of car accidents, visible injuries like lacerations and broken bones aren't the only health concern. Many drivers also experienced so-called soft tissue injuries that are more difficult to diagnose.

Soft tissue refers to muscles, tendons and ligaments. During a the sudden impact of a collision, these tissues could tear, sprain or strain. These stretches and tears can cause lingering pain, swelling, redness and loss of motor function.

Study reveals the safety benefits of automatic rear brakes

Car makers have vowed to equip most of the vehicles sold in South Carolina and around the country with automatic braking technology by 2022, but these systems are designed to prevent front-end collisions only. Technology that applies a vehicle's brakes automatically during reversing maneuvers is far less common, but a recent study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety indicates that such systems could reduce rear accidents by 62 percent.

The nonprofit road safety organization tested the rear automatic braking systems of six popular 2017 sedans, wagons and SUVs, and they came to their conclusions after performing a number of rigorous car-to-car and car-to-pole tests. While only two of the vehicles tested by the IIHS earned the group's superior rating, all of the systems were found to significantly reduce both speeds and collisions. This kind of technology is currently only offered as an option on about 5 percent of the passenger vehicles sold in the United States.

Wrongful death suit filed by family of actor Bill Paxton

Myrtle Beach fans of the late actor Bill Paxton might be interested to learn that his family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and a surgeon who operated on him there. Paxton died on Feb. 25, 2017 at the age of 61.

He had undergone an operation by the surgeon who is named in the suit and who is no longer employed at the hospital. He died of the stroke that he suffered 11 days after the surgery, and this was found to be his cause of death. His family's representative said at the time that he had died from complications related to surgery.

3 types of accidents that can happen on a beach vacation

With freezing temperatures throughout the northern United States, Myrtle Beach is an appealing vacation destination to escape winter. Recreational opportunities on the sea or on land are abundant, from swimming and boating to golfing and sightseeing.

While you may be able to leave behind your everyday cares when you visit, accidents can follow you even on vacation. They can be more distressing to handle, too, when you are out of state.

Speeding is causing an increase in traffic deaths, study says

Statistics show that traffic deaths have increased in South Carolina and across the United States in recent years. What isn't clear is the exact cause of that increase. Some experts believe that the death-rate spike is simply a byproduct of the increased number of drivers on the road. Others point to more drivers and pedestrians being distracted by mobile phones. However, a new study suggests that speeding drivers are the primary cause of rising fatalities.

The study, authored by the National Transportation Safety Board, reviewed motor vehicle crashes between 2005 and 2014. The study found that speeding was the primary factor in 112,580 automobile-related deaths. That accounts for approximately 31 percent of all traffic fatalities during that time period. These figures are nearly identical to the number traffic deaths attributed to drunk driving.

When to report a car crash

When a person gets into a car accident in South Carolina or anywhere else, it could cause property damage as well as bodily injury. The first step after a crash is to make sure that everyone involved is in good physical condition. Assuming that there are no serious injuries, it may be a good idea to report the accident as soon as it happens.

An exception may be if there are no serious injuries and the cost to repair the damage would be roughly equal to the deductible on a vehicle's insurance policy. This is because the owner of the vehicle may have to pay for the entire repair, and by reporting the accident, his or her rates may go up. However, it may be necessary for those involved in an accident to report it if they caused it.

Failure to obey right-of-way laws can be costly

Drivers in South Carolina may have heard the advice that good drivers need to worry about the other guy they're sharing the road with. It is a fact that when it comes to car accidents, often the injured party is not the one who caused the accident. Everyday driving encounters at stop signs and traffic lights can lead to serious injury or even death if drivers fail to yield the right-of-way. And drivers who disobey these laws might end up paying high financial costs even if no one is injured.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that in 2014, about 126,000 people were injured when someone ran a red light. Nearly 709 people died, and most of those people were killed when somebody else ran the red light.

Nine in custody after South Carolina drug busts

If you drive about an hour and a half west of Myrtle Beach, you will come to Lake City, South Carolina. The town is perhaps best known as the home of Dr. Ronald E. McNair, one of the astronauts who died many years ago in the ill-fated Challenger shuttle explosion.

The town of about 6,000 might appear sleepy and quiet to outsiders, but residents know that Lake City struggles with complex issues like every other American locale. According to news media reports, the town recently saw the arrests of 9 people on a wide variety of serious drug charges.

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