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Distracted Driving – Keeping America’s Road Warriors Safe

- October 1, 2019 by Paula Tetrault (View all posts by Paula)

Just the other day, I saw a driver with a Kindle on her steering wheel and a taco in her hand. As I drove cautiously past her, I also noticed makeup scattered about in the passenger seat and an active GPS attached to the windshield. So not only was she hungry and bored on the road, but she was also unaware of how to get to the final destination. She also planned on looking pretty when she finally arrived.

As amusing as this scenario is, it is NOT funny. We drive vehicles that have the potential to seriously injure or even kill other people on the roadway. And we often drive at a speed that will not allow for much reaction time. So why do we surround ourselves with items that are distracting us from watching the road?

As technology evolves, we increasingly see people doing much more than just driving when behind the wheel. Even with new “Hands-Free” laws in most states, we often see drivers talking on the phone, texting, plugging information into their GPS, or selecting a song from a handheld device. The art of driving has become very complicated. Not only must we be aware of the road, but we must also anticipate the other driver and what he/she may be doing inside their moving vehicle.

So what can you do? Staying focused is key. We, as defensive drivers, must remain focused and have a clear understanding of what is happening on the roadway. Although we may just be heading to work or school, we must understand that there are other drivers on the road that are very distracted. They may be in the middle of a meeting, or an argument, eating breakfast or even scrolling through websites to shop.  Yes, these are just a few of the things drivers do while behind the wheel!

Being focused helps us to anticipate the other driver. We have to drive defensively. Here are five quick defensive strategies to incorporate into your drive.

  • Check your mirrors every 3-5 seconds and stay alert.
  • Focus on the driving task, so you do NOT lose response time.
  • Use the ‘what if’ strategy to prevent collisions.
  • Control your speed when you see a potential problem.
  •  Anticipate the reactions of other drivers.

So to all the Road Warriors out there – Anticipate the Dangers and Stay Safe!

What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen on the road lately? Leave a comment. We’d love to share your thoughts with our readers.