Feb 25, 2013

Distracted Driving

I was recently walking my 2 dogs in my neighborhood, stepped off the road into a driveway, had to crouch down between an approaching car and my dogs to protect them, when she drifted off the road and hit me. She was reading a text message on her smartphone at the time, and "didn't see us." I ended up with some hip injuries, but at least my dogs were okay.

I thought about how things have changed since I started driving almost 30 years ago. Cars back then were lucky to have even an AM radio and that the locks, windows, and everything were MANUAL to use. Now? They are so digitally involved that you can't POSSIBLY process it all mentally. DRIVE. Now to step down from my soapbox, here are some facts about distracted driving.

Most American culture is focused right now on how "distracted driving" is related only to texting, but guess what? There are a LOT of things that are considered distracted driving. Things like:
  • Eating and drinking (I see this all the time)
  • Grooming (applying makeup or even shaving)
  • Reading, including maps
  • Using a navigation/GPS system (which is why I don't have one)
  • Watching a video
  • Adjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player
  • Using a cell phone or smartphone, even hands-free/Bluetooth
  • Texting
Distracted driving can be classified in 3 ways; visual (taking your eyes off of the road), manual (taking your hands off of the steering wheel), and cognitive (using your mind for something other than driving). Whenever you do any of the above, you run the risk 23 times more likely that you will be involved in an accident. Simply reading a text means your eyes are off of the road for approximately 5 seconds. At a speed of 55 mph, that is equal to driving the distance of a football field while blindfolded. How safe is that?

Add to it, that most states in the US have laws about distracted drivers. There are different ones for adults and minors. Some are considered primary and some are considered secondary. Some states even ban the use of a cellphone at all. I suggest you go over to the Distraction.gov website and find out what the laws are in your area. Click HERE for direct link to the state law page.

Drive safe...stop distracting yourself from those around you...

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