Week four of National Safety Month focuses on distracted drivers. Is there truly anyone out there who can say they haven’t taken their eyes off the road to retrieve something that fell off the car seat, or attempt to comfort a fussy child, or get caught up in a vigorous conversation with their passenger? Have you noticed some woman putting her make-up on while driving?
I was following a lady who was weaving in the road, and when I passed her, she was reading a road map while driving! Guess what? I’m just as guilty, as I took my eyes off the road to see what she was doing. And what about the guy who’s reading as he’s driving down the road? How safe are you if you meet him on the highway?
Our vehicles now have so many complex DVD players, CD players, bluetooth and satellite navigation systems that it’s a wonder we actually have time to focus on the main thing – driving! The National Highway Transportation Highway Safety Administration reports that distracted drivers cause nearly 4 out of 5 motor vehicle crashes in the United States. Now we get to one of the major culprits: cell phones. In a survey taken by a major insurance company, almost 40% of teens and young adults admitted that they send and receive text messages while driving, and also said they hit someone while doing so, or were almost hit by another car whose driver was talking on their cell phone.
What are driving distractions? Words that describe distraction are interruption, diversion, agitation, commotion, and disturbance. Who of us, at sometime, haven’t faced any of these situations? Our curiosity gets the best of us when something is happening away from the road, and we just have to take a glance. Or if a song comes on the radio that we just can’t stand, we have to get it reach over to change it right away. Are we always conscience of pedestrians and persons on bikes? We can ask ourselves to think back to the close calls we have had, and I would bet everyone has had at least one.
Next time you get behind the wheel, think about your total commitment to safe driving. Things that are going on in your life that might cause you to become sidetracked, are not worth losing your life over. Try this:
- Visit with your passengers without looking at them. (They can still hear you.)
- Don’t eat while driving, and of course, don’t drink alcohol while driving (it’s against the law!),
- Put your make up on before you leave the house.
- Do your reading at home, work, or the library!
- Set your entertainment or navigation systems before you start.
- Strap in the kids and hope for the best.
- Turn the cell phone off. Your messages will be on it when you arrive safely at your destination. (In your heart, you know it’s the right thing to do!)
More and more travelers will take to the roads during the summer months. Always stay focused on arriving at your destination safely. That should be the #1 priority every time you start the car. Don’t let distractions get in your way.