Are you guilty of being a distracted driver?
I know I have been. It’s hard to say out loud, but it’s good to get it off my chest. Distracted driving is no accident.
Driving is about getting from one place, to the other. Not about blasting your music loudly, being cool, texting, or catching up with friends.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the Auto Alliance want to increase awareness about the risks of distracted driving, and the Decide to Drive campaign aims to empower drivers and passengers to speak up about distracted driving. They also want to help continue the conversation at home, work and play, and reduce distracted behaviors behind the wheel.
Here’s something I bet you didn’t know, “According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), of the nearly 33,000 roadway fatalities in 2012, there were 3,328 fatalities and approximately 421,000 injuries in distracted driving-related crashes.” Crazy right? And you may think it’s just texting and driving, but you’d be wrong, so many things can contribute to a distracted driver. Here are a few tips to help you be a more attentive driver;
1. Set your Music before you drive, and leave it be. My kids can be the worst when it comes to the car tunes. They think I am a radio DJ and I take requests. Taking my eyes off the road for a second to change the radio could mean the difference between arriving safely, or getting into a collision. A better way to listen to music? Listen to Radio presets, or set up your iPod before you drive! Make playlists for long car trips when radio service is sketchy, or allow the passengers to play DJ, while you keep your hands on the wheel.
2. Leave your phone in your purse or on the passenger seat – out of reach. If you’re anything like me, your phone is always beeping, ringing and chiming. It’s very tempting to check your phone for messages, but it’s also unsafe. Instead, keep your phone out of reach, or on silent to help resist urges to check it. On long car rides, pull over periodically to check for important updates and messages. Your texts can wait!
3. If that phone call can’t wait, pull over a take a “time-out” from driving. I know they make all sorts of hands free and voice operated devices to help you drive “safely” when you’re driving, but the truth is, any sort of conversation you’re going to have is going to take a bit of your attention away from the task at hand. If the phone call is important and can’t wait, choose a safer place to make the call. Pull over into a shopping center parking lot and give your undivided attention to the call that way. You’ll be making a safer option and giving the person you’re talking to the respect for the conversation they deserve.
4. Set your kids up with toys, books, snacks or other activities before driving. My daughter is the queen of dropping her drink or asking for something like lip balm, while I am driving. Taking my eyes off the road to fish around the back seat for her stuff or dig through my purse is super unsafe, and should not be done. Take precautions before driving to set up the kids in the backseat with their toys, drinks or snacks they will need for the trip. Let them know that you’re driving and can’t help them, so if it falls they have to wait until the car ride is over. In addition to being a safer option, it’s also a great lesson in patience.
5. Do your makeup at home, before you leave the house. As much as you’d like to sleep that extra 15 minutes, rushing out the door and doing your makeup in the car is NOT an option. Plan accordingly by either waking up when the alarm goes off, bringing your makeup with you to do when you get to your destination, or learn how to apply your face faster in the morning. Doing it in the car is super unsafe and not a reason to end up in a crash.
Bottom Line: ANYTHING that distracts you from driving is UNSAFE, and should either be avoided, or implemented in a safer way using the tips above. Remember, the most advanced safety feature of any vehicle is the driver. The AAOS and the Auto Alliance urges all drivers to keep their most sophisticated safety features engaged at all times: eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.
I drive safe for my family. Every time I drive the 60 some odd miles round trip to pick up Audrey from school I am on the road with people checking their phones, swerving through lanes of traffic, applying makeup, and texting to name a few. It scares me, so I know that for myself, I need to make sure that I have my eyes on the road, my hands on the wheel and my attention on getting to destination safely.
I worry about what would happen to them if something happened to me. I choose to be safe, and not drive distracted because my kids need a mom and my husband needs a wife.
Not only am I being safe for myself, and for them, but I am being safe for you. Distracted drivers aren’t the only ones involved in crashes, innocent, well being, attentive driver’s are involved too.
Distracted driving is no accident. Crashes are caused by intoxicated, speeding, distracted, or careless drivers and, therefore, are not accidents.
So, #DecidetoDrive, and make the choice for a safer journey. It can wait.
Until June 13th, you can enter the Decide to Drive Catchphrase Contest to win one of two $500 Visa Gift Cards, or the Grand Prize, a $1000 Visa Gift Card! What are you waiting for?!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.