Distracted Driving – including the use of cell phones – is a major contributor to automobile crashes. Between 4,000 and 8,000 crashes related to distracted driving occur daily in the United States. In a year, they contribute to as many as one-half of the 6 million U.S. crashes reported annually.
Drive Safer, Talk Later
Distracted driving is any non-driving activity a person engages in that has the potential to distract him or her from the primary task of driving and increases the risk of crashing. Distracted driving comes in various forms, such as cell phone use, texting while driving, eating, drinking, talking with passengers, using a PDA or navigation system, changing the radio station, CD, or MP3 player, grooming, etc.
Driver distractions are nothing new. They’ve been a topic of discussion since windshield wipers were introduced in cars during the early 1900s. Using a cellular phone while driving can increase your chances of being involved in a crash. But research shows other distractions such as eating a sandwich, tending to small children, conversing with a passenger or gazing at objects outside the vehicle occur more frequently and can be just as distracting as talking on a cell phone. Now, imagine the risks if you combine two or more of the above tasks!
You can help by committing to be a distraction-free driver. Please: try it for a week, do it for life. Share the message, spread the word, and help us create safer roads for everyone. Below are nine quick and easy ways to minimize distractions to keep yourself and all of us safer on the roads.
Plan Ahead – Read maps and check traffic conditions before you get on the road.
Stow Electronic Devices – Turn off your phone before you drive so you won’t be tempted to use it while on the road. Pull over to a safe place to talk on the phone or to send and receive text messages or emails.
Prepare Kids And Pets For The Trip – Get the kids safely buckled in and situated with snacks and entertainment before you start driving. If they need additional attention during the trip, pull off the road safely to care for them. Similarly, prepare and secure pets appropriately in your vehicle before getting
Satisfy That Craving Off The Road – Eat meals and snacks before getting behind the wheel, or stop to eat and take a break if driving long-distance.
Store Loose Gear and Possessions – Stash away loose objects that could roll around and take your attention away from driving.
Get Your Vehicle Road-Ready – Adjust seat positions, climate controls, sound systems and other devices before you leave or while your vehicle is stopped. Make sure your headlights are spotless so you can see everything on the road and every other driver can see you better. Keep your windshield clean and remove dangling objects that could block your view.
Dress For Success Before You Get In The Car – Your car isn’t a dressing room. Brush your hair, shave, put on make-up, and tie your necktie before you leave or once you reach your destination.
Get Your Brain In The Game – Focus on the task at hand: driving safely. Scan the road, use mirrors and practice identifying orally what you just saw to enhance your engagement as a driver. Really focusing on maintaining your thoughts about the road, when you ‘re on the road, can help you improve your overall awareness and behavior as a driver, and help you see the importance of “being in the game.”
Evaluate Your Own Behavior From The ‘Other’ Side Of The Road – When you’re on the road as a passenger or a pedestrian, take a look around and honestly evaluate whether you engage in poor driving behaviors that worry you when observed in other passengers or pedestrians.