That’s the message from the National Safety Council as we celebrate Distracted Driver Awareness Month. It only takes a quick look at the statistics to realize that “Just Drive” is something that needs everyone’s attention. Why? Well how about the fact that it’s estimated that 80 percent of all accidents involve some form of distracted driving? Eighty percent! So, what’s a distraction? Basically, anything that prevents you from giving full attention to something else.
Probably the most obvious distraction that comes to mind is using a cell phone when driving – talking, texting, checking email, taking selfies. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) notes that texting is the most alarming distraction because it takes your eyes off the road. If you take your eyes off the road for even five seconds, at 55 mph, it’s like driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed! Now that’s scary.
But cell phone use isn’t the only distraction. How about blaring music, fiddling with the radio or any other buttons on the dashboard, trying to program your GPS after you’ve already started driving, juggling food that you just picked up at the drive-through, trying to reach for something in the back seat, personal grooming? The list goes on. In this world of multi-tasking, we often feel the pressure to be able to handle several things at once. Behind the wheel is not the place to practice that fine art.
It’s estimated that distracted driving leads to more than 3,100 fatalities and 400,000 injuries each year in the U.S. That should be enough to make us realize that distracted driving definitely isn’t worth it. Sorry to say, it’s not. And that’s a problem. Too often, we think that we can beat the odds; get away with it just once; it won’t happen to me; and so on and so on and so on. That kind of thinking is dangerous to you and the other drivers on the road.
Be safe. Be smart. Just Drive!
Posted by MJ Thomas