How many of us have seen distracted drivers on the road? I for one am raising both my hands right now! I’m betting that everyone has seen at least one (but I’m guessing 100x that) distracted driver on the road.
I’ve seen everything – people talking on their phones, texting on their phones, turning around to talk to someone in the backseat, applying makeup, eating, and taking pictures. I’ve even seen two drivers in two separate cars trying to having a conversation while on the interstate. THE INTERSTATE! SO dangerous. I am a firm believer that when you are in the driver’s seat of the car, your only job is to pay attention to what’s happening on the road. Nothing else.
Now, how many of us have been distracted while driving? I’m hesitantly raising my hands. I’m sure that all of us have been distracted at some point while driving. And that could look like talking on your cell phone, texting while driving, changing the radio station, being engrossed in a deep conversation with others in the car, etc.
I for one used to be guilty of talking on the phone while driving, especially when my commute was one hour plus. I figured it was a good time to catch up with friends/family since I couldn’t do much else. Then one day I was talking to Vishnu about how I do this and how it’s so efficient. Well, he didn’t respond the way I thought he would. He got really upset with me and proceeded to send me an article about the dangers of talking on the phone while driving. He also made me promise him that I would no longer talk on the phone while driving. I promised him that I would only use my phone if it was an emergency.
This was easy promise to make since I no longer have a commute and walk to work. But, if I still had a commute, I would try one of the following things to ensure that I wasn’t distracted…
- Keep the phone in my purse. Don’t even take it out.
- Maintain a hands on the wheel policy.
- Before beginning the drive, start a podcast that is longer in duration than your expected drive time.
- Let those you talk to most frequently know that you now have a no talking while driving policy.
- Look into alternative travel options (which would unfortunately not have been an option for me).
I think most people know the dangers of distracted driving but think they will be fine because they are great drivers and can multitask while driving. Well, sorry to break it to you, but not everyone is a great driver, and it’s recently been shown that our brains are not built to multitask. Never mind in the office or at home but definitely not while driving. Plain and simple – if you feel that the need to text a friend or tweet a message out to the world is more important than driving completely undistracted, PLEASE PULL OVER! It’s just not worth it.
I am so glad that more and more organizations are taking note of the above and trying to do something about it. For example, The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons and the Auto Alliance want to increase awareness about the risks of distracted driving. 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. Orthopedic surgeons—the specialists who put bones and limbs back together after road crashes and traumas—along with our partners, the automakers, would rather help all drivers “decide to drive” each time they get in the car and to keep bones and limbs intact. 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.
If you would like to share information regarding distracted driving, please a look at the Decide to Drive campaign site. The Decide to Drive program aims to empower drivers and passengers to speak up about distracted driving, continue the conversation at home, work and play, and reduce distracted behaviors behind the wheel. And be sure to enter the Decide to Drive Catchphrase Contest, which is running from May 30 – June 13, 2014.
Stay safe out there and have a great weekend!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.