April is designated as National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Every day we should observe all the ways we need to be safe while behind the wheel. These ideas are for everyone who drives, no matter your age. How many times you have let some sort of distraction cause you to not pay attention to your safety and that of your passengers? 

Here are some ideas, which you all have read before, but we are going to keep trying to let you know how important this is. 

First of all, DON‘T talk on a cell phone while you are driving if you have children in the car. You may use a hands-free device, but you will still be letting your train of thought veer away from safe driving, and you are setting a bad example for your kids. If they think it’s ok because mom and dad talk or their cell phone and drive, someday they will, too. 

Here are some more driving DON’T’s: 

  • Don’t drink and drive, and never get in a car with someone who has been using drugs or drinking.
  • Don’t text and drive……ever! Pull over, please don’t take the chance!
  • Don’t make assumptions about what other drivers are going to do. Just because someone has their turn signal on does not mean they are actually going to turn. They may be like the rest of us, and have forgotten that it is on!
  • DON’T assume that other cars can read your mind, either. Make sure that you use your turn signals and give yourself, and the cars around you, plenty of room to maneuver.
  • DON’T tailgate other cars, pass on shoulders, fail to yield, run stoplights or stop signs (even if no one else seems to be around), or break any other rules of the road on purpose. If you act like you are above the law when you operate a car, you will sooner, rather than later, find out that you are not.
  • DON’T play your car stereo so loudly that you are disruptive to others, or so loudly that you are unable to hear train signals or emergency vehicle sirens.
  • DON’T engage in other activities, while driving, that distract your attention or reduce your reaction time. Eating, changing clothes, or putting on makeup while driving is dangerous. In some states, if you are caught doing these things while driving you can be cited for “driver inattention” and given a ticket.
  • DON’T treat a car like it is a toy. It is not. Don’t use your car to play chicken, race, or give another car a friendly “tap.”
  • DON’T let your emotions and frustrations get the best of you. Don’t engage in road rage, no matter how irritating another driver might be to you.
  • DON’T activate the cruise control when driving in wet conditions. There can be a build up of water under the tires, and could cause hydroplaning. (This is not a distracted driving tip, but an important DON’T to add to your list.)
  • DON’T drive if you are sleepy. Ask your passenger to drive, or wait until your head is clear. Needing sleep really distracts you from your driving responsibility. 

DO DRIVE DEFENSIVELY. If you have a group in your car, let them lead the conversation so you can keep your eyes on the road at all times. Stay safe and take this message to heart. If you let some distraction cause you to have an accident while driving, chances are someone will get hurt and you will be responsible. So “drive friendly”,  as we say in Texas, and drive responsibly!