Sunday, March 29, 2009

Cell Phones Cause the Most Wrecks? New Research Shows Otherwise.

Most people think that people talking on their cell phones cause the highest numbers of automobile accidents today. But new research shows that most wrecks are caused by people just not paying attention.

The most common distraction for drivers today is talking on cell phones. That fact is undeniable, and all you have to do to validate it is to drive around town for ten minutes. But cell phones, although distracting, don’t cause the most crashes. That dubious honor goes to a much less high-tech problem drivers often have—taking one hand off the wheel to reach for a moving object, like a drink that’s about to spill.

A study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have shown that the simple act of reaching for something while driving is so distracting that it increases the risk of crashes and near-crashes nearly nine times.

In fact, inattentive driving on the whole is the leading factor in most automobile crashes. In the NHTSA-Virginia Tech study, researchers fitted 100 cars with video cameras and sensors and monitored drivers’ behaviors for more than a year. The results showed that in 78% of wrecks, the driver had taken his eyes of the road within 3 seconds before the wreck occurred. Reading while driving—such as reading directions, looking at maps, or reading a coupon or receipt—boosted the risk of wrecks by almost 3.5 times. Applying makeup was also a big risk.

Although reaching for items while driving causes the most number of wrecks, drivers don’t reach for things nearly as often as they talk on cell phones. And although cell phones aren’t the biggest culprits, they are responsible for a great number of automobile wrecks, not only from handling and dialing the phone, but also from the driver paying more attention to the conversation than to the road.

Ann McCartt, vice president for research at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, says that the safest approach to driving for anyone is just to keep both hands on the wheel and both eyes on the road. "You never know when someone will pull out in front of you, or when you‘ll be faced with another situation beyond your control. That’s when something that seems harmless—like talking on the phone or changing the radio station—becomes danger. It’s not exciting to hear, but drivers reed to focus on driving."

Top Ten Driver Distractions (from the NHTSA-Virginia Tech study):
  • Using a wireless device, such as a cell phone
  • Talking to and interacting with passengers
  • Reaching for CDs, food, falling objects, or other internal distractions
  • Programming radio stations or tinkering with dashboard controls
  • Using an electric razor, applying makeup, or other personal hygiene-related actions
  • Unwrapping a burger, opening a can, or other movements when eating at the wheel
  • External distractions such as pointing out a funny billboard or pedestrian
  • Talking or singing to yourself
  • Smoking
  • Daydreaming

http://www.buzzle.com/

By Buzzle Staff and Agencies

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Ageing

I'M SUPPOSED TO POST THIS ON MY BIRTHDAY BUT THEN DUE TO SOME CIRCUMSTANCES, I POSTPONED IT UNTIL TODAY. IF YOU DON'T READ THIS TO THE VERY END, YOU HAVE LOST A DAY IN YOUR LIFE. AND WHEN YOU HAVE FINISHED, DO AS I AM DOING DO SHARE THIS WITH SOMEONE. WE ALL NEED TO LIVE LIFE TO ITS FULLEST EACH DAY.

George Carlin's Views on Ageing

Do you realise that the only time in our lives when we like to get old is when we're kids? If you're less than 10 years old, you're so excited about ageing that you think in fractions.

'How old are you?' 'I'm four and a half!' You're never thirty-six and a half. You're four and a half, going on five! That's the key..

You get into your teens, now they can't hold you back. You jump to the next number, or even a few ahead.

'How old are you?' 'I'm gonna be 16!' You could be 13, but hey, you're gonna be 16! And then the greatest day of your life .... . You become 21. Even the words sound like a ceremony. YOU BECOME 21. YESSSS!!!

But then you turn 30. Oooohh, what happened there? Makes you sound like bad milk! He TURNED; we had to throw him out. There's no fun now, you're Just a sour-dumpling. What's wrong? What's changed?

You BECOME 21, you TURN 30, then you're PUSHING 40. Whoa! Put on the brakes, it's all slipping away. Before you know it, you REACH 50 and your dreams are gone.

But wait!!! You MAKE it to 60. You didn't think you would!

So you BECOME 21, TURN 30, PUSH 40, REACH 50 and MAKE it to 60.

You've built up so much speed that you HIT 70! After that it's a day-by-day thing; you HIT Wednesday!

You get into your 80's and every day is a complete cycle; you HIT lunch; you TURN 4:30 ; you REACH bedtime. And it doesn't end there Into the 90s, you start going backwards; 'I Was JUST 92.'

Then a strange thing happens. If you make it over 100, you become a little kid again. 'I'm 100 and a half!'

May you all make it to a healthy 100 and a half!!

HOW TO STAY YOUNG?

Throw out nonessential numbers. This includes age, weight and height. Let the doctors worry about them. That is why you pay 'them'

Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down.

Keep learning. Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, whatever. Never let the brain idle. 'An idle mind is the devil's workshop.' And the devil's name is Alzheimer's.

Enjoy the simple things.

Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath.

The tears happen. Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person, who is with us our entire life, is ourselves. Be ALIVE while you are alive.

Surround yourself with what you love , whether it's family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever. Your home is your refuge.

Cherish your health: If it is good, preserve it. If it is unstable, improve it. If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.

Don't take guilt trips. Take a trip to the mall, even to the next county; to a foreign country but NOT to where the guilt is.

Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity.

AND ALWAYS REMEMBER :

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Stressed? Sleepless? 5 Tips to beat insomnia

by Liz Vaccariello, Editor-in-Chief, PREVENTION

A good night’s sleep makes you smarter, happier, boosts your immune system and overtime can actually slow the aging process. Unfortunately, during these stressful days, a solid 7-8 hours is harder and harder to come by.
You don’t need me to tell you just how lousy and out of it you feel when you sleep badly. Besides, beauty sleep is no mere expression — everyone looks better and brighter when they’ve had a full 7-8 hours. Make sure you’re getting the shut-eye you need with these tips:

SKIP THE SECOND ROUND

Alcohol is probably the substance used most often for sleep, reports a study in Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine (it’s also a major ingredient in many over the- counter cold medications.) However, when you fall asleep under the influence, both the quantity and the quality of your sleep are adversely affected. Even small to moderate intakes of alcohol can suppress melatonin (a hormone that help regulate sleep), interfere with restorative N-REM cycles, and prevent dreaming, according to Rubin Naiman, PhD, a clinical assistant professor of medicine at the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona and coauthor of Healthy Sleep.

Try moderate exercise instead to help you sleep better — and as a bonus, you’ll lose a few pounds.

CUT BACK ON CAFFEINE

Caffeine boosts alertness, activates stress hormones, and elevates heart rate and blood pressure — none of which are very helpful when you’re trying to get shut-eye. Some people are more sensitive than others to caffeine’s effects, and one’s sensitivity may be hereditary. If you’re sensitive to caffeine, take note that its half-life — the time required by your body to break down half of it — can be as long as 7 hours. In other words, if you were to have your last cup of coffee at 1 pm, a quarter of the caffeine it contained could still remain in your system as late as 3 am. In women, estrogen may delay caffeine metabolism even further. Between ovulation and menstruation, you take about 25% longer to eliminate it, and if you’re on birth control pills, you take about twice the normal time. (Newer, low-estrogen pills may have less of an impact.)

OPEN A WINDOW

Most sleep researchers advise keeping your bedroom cool, but not cold — the National Sleep Foundation recommends between 54 and 75°F. This is because a cool room makes it easier for your core body temperature to drop, which must occur for you to fall asleep. (Body temp reaches its lowest point about 4 hours after you nod off.) However, the thermostat is only part of the story: Proper air circulation and blankets that aren’t too heavy —a big problem in hotel rooms — can also facilitate a drop in body temperature.

A series of fascinating studies done in the past decade and a half by Swiss researchers Kurt Kräuchi and Anna Wirz-Justice, PhD, found an inverse relation between warm feet and cool body temp: When your feet and hands are warm, the blood vessels dilate, allowing heat to escape and body temperature to fall, initiating sleep. Conversely, when hands and feet are cold, the vessels constrict, retaining heat, which may keep you awake.

ORDER THE PASTA AT LUNCH, NOT DINNER

It’s true that carbohydrates boost the sleep-inducing amino acid tryptophan in the blood, which in turn boosts serotonin. But don’t assume that a big plate of pasta will put you to sleep; in fact, as a general rule, anything that raises body temperature, including the consumption of calories, wrecks sleep. Plus, if you have any digestive problems such as heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), eating a big meal before bedtime is just asking for trouble.

USE YOUR ALARM EVERY DAY (EVEN SUNDAYS)

Most experts insist that we regularize our sleep. They point to evidence that our circadian rhythm — the natural ebb and flow of energy levels throughout the day — thrives on consistency. The more predictable our sleep schedule, the better our bodies work, they say. But even those who argue this most strongly admit that, while it helps to keep a regular sleep-wake schedule, it may not be the complete answer.

According to researchers, even if insomniacs keep regular sleep patterns, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll sleep well or long enough, notes Kathryn Reid, PhD, a research assistant professor in the department of neurology at the Northwestern University Center for Sleep and Circadian Rhythm. Napping is an issue on which experts are also divided. Bottom line: try to get up and go to sleep at roughly the same time most days of the week.