Don’t Fall Victim of Distracted Driving
EVERYONE HAS SEEN THE NEGATIVE IMPACT DRINKING ALCOHOL AND DRIVING HA SON OUR STREETS.
Its common knowledge they don’t mix. We all agree that a driver’s judgment, awareness and reaction time is compromised when consuming alcohol for specified duration prior to driving. The campaign to inform the public about the dangers of mixing alcohol with controlling a vehicle has been largely successful. Today, alcohol isn’t the only way for drivers to have delayed reactions. Ask yourself if you may have other habits that affect your driving safety.
DO YOU EVER FIND YOURSELF IN THESE SITUATIONS?
- Traffic suddenly slows ahead and you have to slam on the brakes to avoid an accident.
- An animal jumps out into the road and you have to swerve to miss them.
- Another drivers enter your lane and you have to act fast or hit them.
- You thinking or daydreaming while driving, when you realize you have missed your turn or worse; you arrive at your destination without recollection of how you got there.
- You’ve accidentally run stop signs or red light. How about not moving at a green light?
If you answered “yes” to any of these, you have very likely become distracted while driving. This can be very dangerous for you and those around you. Nobody wants to be involved in an accident due to being distracted. What causes these distractions? How can you avoid them?
HERE IS A LIST OF THE VARIOUS ACTIVITIES THAT LEAD TO DISTRACTED DRIVING:
- Responding to Twitter, Facebook, or other social media
- Talking on the phone
- Applying make-up/ grooming
- Using GPS
- Eating or drinking
- Talking to passengers in the car
- Reading-even maps
- Watching videos
- Adjusting media players (radio, CD, Mp3)
- Being tired
All of these activities can be trouble, but texting and social media interaction require your eyes, your hands and your attention. Today, these have become relatively common practice, especially among drivers in their 20’s, who make up over a fourth of distracted drivers in fatal collisions. When traveling at 55 mph your car can travel the length of a city block in five seconds, the time it may take to read a text or social media message. You can cause a collision in less time than that.
Statistics show that over 60% of drivers admit to talking on the phone while driving and over 30% admit to texting. Multiple studies agree that handling a phone or device while driving is 3-8 times more dangerous than drunk driving. It is the third leading cause of driving fatalities.
The truth is, you can’t do much about other drivers’ choices; the driver to really be concerned about is yourself. You can avoid putting yourself and others at risk by giving truthful answers to these hard questions, and then acting on them. If you’ve ever driven while tired, applied make-up, changed an article of clothing, used a GPS or phone or eaten while driving, you are a potential distracted driver.
THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT THERE ARE EASY STEPS TO IMPROVE THE SAFETY OF YOUR DRIVING:
- Make sure you’re well rested and prepared with route information before driving long distances. Leave early to avoid the stress of possibly being late, and dress and eat before you leave.
- Make sure your vehicle is in good working order, with items inside the car secured to prevent further distraction from them when driving.
- Make sure your phone is on hands free mode. If not possible, either turn the phone off or put it aside while driving. If you must take a call, pull over to a safe place to use your phone. Don’t even think about looking at a text, much less sending one while driving. Allow people that you know to get used to you not being immediately available when you are driving.
- Put your problems away when you’re driving. The only mental multi-tasking you need to do on the road is paying attention to possible hazards and road signs, while anticipating the behaviors of other drivers.
Keep in mind that depending on your location, it’s probably illegal to talk or text on the phone. Beyond the consequences of an accident, you could incur additional tickets or fines for breaking the law.
If you feel that it’s not convenient for you take the time to follow a few precautions, ask yourself if getting into a car accident will be less inconvenient. Be safe, and keep your eyes and your mind on the road.