Bad Drivers are, um, bad…

Ok, so anyone who knows me well, or has driven any distance with me, knows that I am annoyed by bad driving.  Yes, even when I do it myself sometimes, it still annoys me.  The reason is fairly simple, driving can be very dangerous.  Despite the fact that we all do it alot, it still is one of the leading causes of death in the US, and most accidents are preventable.  No, I don’t work for an auto insurance company either.. 🙂

In the United States, motor vehicle–related injuries are the leading cause of death for people ages 1–34, and nearly 5 million people sustain injuries that require an emergency department visit. The economic impact is also notable: motor vehicle crashes cost around $230 billion in 2000.

Not long ago, CNN ran an article that had some interesting stats about driving, and I’ll be honest I was surprised at the results.  Washington state ranked 11th overall in the country, yet 13.8% of Washington residents would fail the written driving test.  What that tells me is my ranting against Subaru drivers who can’t drive (there are a lot of Subarus in Seattle) is likely well grounded.  We stink at driving, and what’s worse, 39 other states are worse than we are.  Scary.

Kansas, don’t get all happy with your number 1 ranking overall.  You ranked the highest in percentage of people who change clothes while driving (2.9%).  Change clothes?  Really?  I guess long stretches of open road provides the privacy… 

New York don’t be all “City folk know how to drive..” on Kansas either, you ranked at a dismal 51st (the survey includes DC) and had a 36.3% failure rate on the written test.

I guess overall Washington isn’t so bad after all (comparitively, but let’s seriously consider using our blinkers and checking our blind spots before changing lanes, MMKAY?) so to all of those who unknowingly were the target of my rants against bad drivers, an apology for calling you the worst ever when in fact you are only worse than 10 other states.

Fear is unhealthy… well duh!

This is a link to Bruce Schneier’s Blog with comments included because I thought some of them were very insightful as well.  His posting has links to the original article and study.

First, is it news that stress in general is unhealthy?  Back in the “Health food” kicks of the 80s (ok, yeah that starts to put dates to my age, but that’ll be a different post) I used to joke the the stress of worrying about your diet might just kill you faster than the food iteself.  It seems I was unwittingly correct. 🙂

Second, fear (a stress factor) can come from many sources, so pinning the blame on terrorism is a bit of reach.  Ok, it is probably true, but the same can be said for fear of any variety of fear for which you don’t manage the associated stress.  The key is in the management of the stress.

Fight or flight instincts go way back into our history, and it can be argued that some stresses cause performance increases as the body’s response is to pump the system full of adrenaline and prepare for that fight or flight.  However those elevated levels of performance are intended (so it seems) to be short term.  Living under a constant threat wears us out, so our brain and body learn ways to diffuse the stresses and return our body to its normal state.

So while I’m sure someone got a master’s degree, or a publication credit, I wonder if we really needed a study to tell us the being scared and stressed is not a good thing.