A Regretful Incident

All I felt was an agonizing pain in my legs. I could barely stand upright. I remembered falling into complete darkness. The pain was surging throughout my body. I could not help but begged earnestly that I could pull through.

Before that, I was lying on my couch, watching the old boring television series.“Err…this is boring!” I groaned as I turned off the television.

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Just then, the telephone from the living room came ringing loudly. Immediately, I rushed to the phone and picked it up. My friends had called me up for a soccer game. Swelling with happiness, I grabbed my ball and rushed to the field. It had been many days since we last played soccer. My wild spirits was rejoiced by its delayed liberty. I ran and ran, my cheeks caressed by the gentle breeze. I could see Jerry and Tom in the distance.

I rushed up to them, suggesting, “Whoever kicks the ball furthest will win!” Both of them agreed readily. “Watch this!” I bragged as I kicked the ball skillfully. The ball flew up into the air and landed at the nearby construction site. “Oh no!” I exclaimed. The soccer ball was a present from my father and I have to get it back.

My friends and I ran toward the site and was about to enter when we saw a sign that reads, “Danger, Keep Out”. My friends then warned me not to trespass the area as it could be dangerous. Turning their advice on deaf ears, I sprinted into the site without much consideration. I had to get my ball back. I had to!

I scanned around the area, looking for my ball. There were blackish puddles everywhere and shoe prints in the mud. Bits of tissue paper and cigarette stubs swam in stagnant water. All of a sudden, I dropped into a hole and was in complete darkness.

“Ah!” I doubled in pain as I could feel the agonizing pain in my left leg. The pain was so excruciating that I could barely stand. “Help! Someone please help!” I shouted with all my might. However, I knew that nobody could hear. I had fallen into a hole fifty feet below ground.

My friends’ advice was right and I blamed myself for doing such a reckless act like entering the construction site. “I am doomed!” I muttered to myself. My heart was pounding hard against my chest as I braced myself for the worst.

Suddenly, I remembered about my phone that was at the back of my pocket. “I could call Jerry for help!” mumbling to myself. I quickly took out the phone and started dialing. To my dismay, there was no reception at all. Sadness etched across my forehead. I could not help but begged that this ordeal would end soon.

Time seemed to stretch into eternity as I waited patiently for help. “Tim, where are you?” Jerry’s brow were furrowed in a mixture of fear and worry. He had waited for me for a long time outside the construction site before deciding to inform the workers about the matter. Upon hearing the news, the workers were flabbergasted. Grabbing a long rope, the workers came searching for me, only to see me groaning in pain. “Here, grab onto the rope!” bellowed the workers. With all my strength, I hung on to the rope and they pulled me to safety. Before I could talk, a sea of darkness fell upon me, sweeping me to oblivion.

When I woke up, I was in a room full of machines. The smell of medicine filled the air. My family and friends were all with me. My mother looked at me with a tingle of sorrow sweeping across her face and my father looked extremely downcast to see me in this state. I had fractured my left leg and arm and had to be hospitalized for a month. I was glad that everything was over. Even though the ordeal was over, who knows how long I will take to forget this incident? It was certainly an unforgettable one. Through this, I have learnt a lesson on safety. I will never ever venture into dangerous places again. 

Tips On How To Get Driving License And Become A Good Driver

 Driving is the coordinated operation of mind and body for the movement of a vehicle, such as a car, truck, or bus. Driving, being considered as an everyday activity for most people still has an issue of driver safety. Over the 20 years from 1980 to 2000, the number of licensed drivers in the U.S. has increased 23.7%, from about 154.0 million to 190.6 million. Total annual mileage traveled annually in the U.S. increased 28.9% from 1990 to 2000 and reached 2,767 billion miles in 2000 [1]. Over the years, we have seen emerging technology for safer driving. Electronic stability control, collision avoidance systems, intelligent speed adaptation, and vehicle tracking systems can all help mitigate the threats to drivers [2]. Great improvements have been introduced to many aspects of modern cars, from better engines and chassis construction to higher vehicle stability, better wheels and tires, and better overall crash protection. Unfortunately, the total number of fatal crashes is still increasing despite the safety improvements in road and vehicle design. Mo-tor vehicle-related fatalities increased from 33,186 in 1950 to 42,387 in 2000 [3]. One could argue that the increase in fatalities could be attributed to the increase in the number of cars on the road, resulting in a normal correlation. Nonetheless, the problem seems to be more complex than just a correlation. In this paper, we analyze the threats to driver safety and the growth of speech recognition with respect to the automotive domain. In addition, we propose a solution to minimize driver distraction by introducing multimodal interaction and comparing the command hit rate when using single-mode speech inter-action and dual-mode speech with text tip.

Driver distraction, in simple words, is anything that allows the driver to take hands off the steering wheel or eyes off the road or the mind unfocused [28]. This approach is generic and needs to be looked at in more detail. One of the main challenges in driving is the coordination between body and mind on one side, and the car controls as well as the road dynamics on the other side. This makes the true understanding of driver distraction. If we consider the difference between novice and expert drivers, we can identify the level of coordination between them as low (for novice drivers) versus high (for the expert drivers). Figure 1 shows four main phases that a typical driver would go through:

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Figure 1.The Four Phases of Driving Coordination Improvement

Phase 1:

At the very beginning of learning how to drive, the driver will go through a very low level of coordination. The driver will have a hard time trying to coordinate their physical activities between managing the gas, breaks, steering, car movements as well as other car controls. No attention would be paid to additional control or even the road. Drivers would often start this phase in an empty space not shared with other drivers until they gain basic coordination to move to the next phase.

Phase 2:

In this phase, the driver will gradually gain better basic coordination and start paying some attention to the car movements. In this phase, drivers would be able to focus on road signs as well as other drivers. Eventually, drivers will be able to reach a sufficient level of coordination to pass a driver’s test and obtain their driving license.

Phase 3:

At this stage, drivers would be allowed to drive on public roads alone or initially with a mentor. This stage will see progressive coordination and more attention to the road and other vehicles as well as road signs. This phase can extend to a longer time interval than the first two phases and will be mainly for the driver to establish a strong driving experience.

Phase 4:

This phase moves the driver into an expert. While the borderlines between the first 3 phases can be general defined in concrete terms, the borderlines between phases 3 and 4 are blurry at best. Over several months or years, the driver becomes an accomplished driver and reaches a high level of experience. This experience relied heavily on the perfection of coordination between the driver’s physical activities and the road dynamics. Physical coordination eventually becomes second nature to the driver due to its complete predictive and systematic nature; very similar to walking. While toddler’s first attempts to walk seem daunting tasks, we eventually walk without thinking as our brains automate the process. On the contrary, the second type of coordination, the attention to road dynamics remains a major challenge due to its non-systematic and unpredictable nature. Roads and other drivers are continuously changing and often have an exception or a surprise once in a while. Therefore, unlike physical coordination, the mental coordination stemming from the focus on the road and driving dynamics remains unautomated. This type of mental coordination is probably the main reason for driver distraction and a major contributor to automobile accidents.

Unfocused driving can be due to fatigue, aging, alcohol, or distraction. According to a study released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI), 80% of crashes and 65% of near-crashes involve some form of driver distraction [28]. Since 2009, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has launched a variety of creative campaigns to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving such as “One Text or Call Could Wreck It All” [2]. In fact, we can identify two main groups of contradicting factors. Our initial analysis shows these two distinct groups of risk factors will possibly have an opposing effect on the number of accidents.

The net effect remains to be known or even clearly identifiable:

• Increased Crash Safety Awareness: The crash safety and driver protection mechanisms have increased. Today’s car is significantly stronger with a special focus on strengthening the passenger’s zone as well as introducing impact ab-sorption zones and several airbags surrounding the occupants to reduce crash injuries and fatalities. Tougher crash tests are becoming more common, and the safety star ratings of most cars today are made available to the public, which motivates car manufacturers to constantly improve their designs for better crashworthiness.

• Better Road Designs are getting better with higher road quality, better traffic signs and signals. Statistical analysis and feedback from re-peated accidents is used to pay more attention to those “hot locations” and special measures are taken to proactively reduce some location-related accidents. 

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