Imagine being in the backseat of your friend’s car excited that homecoming weekend has finally arrived. You’re on the way to the football game and seeing the car drift in front of an oncoming semi-truck as your friend is responding to a text that they just received.
How does that make you feel?
Your life could change forever, or worse, end…over a text message. You could be one of the “11 people who die each day from Distracted Driving Car Crashes” according to AAA.
The driver’s desire to respond quickly to a text is an example of distracted driving. While distracted, they will not be able to react fast enough to braking, swerving cars, and other obstacles. Having your life in the hands of someone who is distracted is scarier than anything Halloween has to offer.
What is distracted driving?
Distracted driving is any activity that keeps the driver from paying attention to the road. There are many different types of distracted driving as well, such as: talking on the phone, changing the radio, texting, eating, or even looking at your GPS. In 2016, there were 3,450 deaths due to distracted driving (www.nhtsa.gov) This number is terrifying.
Here are some ways you can prevent distracted driving:
Eyes on the road
Removing your attention for even a few seconds can be deadly. Statistics have shown that at any moment during the daylight hours, about 481,000 drivers are handling cell phones or other electronic devices while driving in the U.S. (Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).
Keep all your electronic devices stored away, on mute or find settings where you can operate them by voice instead of by hand. Send any text or make any phone calls prior to your drive. If meeting someone, let them know your ETA by mapping out how long it could take to get there, including traffic.
Plan your route
GPS can also keep you from paying attention to the road and reduce your reaction to a road hazard. Before you start driving, decide which route you want to take. Mentally make a note of exits and distances to avoid constantly looking at your GPS. This will help you plan ahead.
Learn to drive while listening to the GPS instructions than seeing the screen. Practice this art before hitting the freeways.
Passengers who care about safety
Passengers can be a distraction as well. Let me know the importance of keeping you and them safe on the road. They will appreciate the honesty. Passengers can help with distracting tasks within the car if needed. They can help navigate you on roads; keeping you aware of the required turns in advance.
Pull over if fatigued
Drowsy driving is also considered a distraction. If you feel tired, or extremely fatigued, pull over on the side of the road and do not drive at all.
Distracted driving is a major cause of car-related injuries and deaths. Let’s work to lower those statistics.