I’m a safe driver…. I think ….. Right? It’s the other drivers on the road that are the problem, not me.
What is your opinion of safe driving? What are you doing to ensure not only your own safety but the safety of others on the road? What can you do? Many drivers claim to be #safedrivers. With clean motor vehicle reports and unblemished accident records with their insurance carriers it is hard to differentiate a #responsibledriver from a #distracteddriver when you are just reviewing numbers alone.
Technology, speed, impairment, and experience all are factors in how attentive we are when it comes to our time spent behind the wheel of our automobile. #Statistics are proving that drivers are succumbing to distractions and not always practicing safe and responsible driving.
According to Selective Insurance 9.2% of all fatal crashes in the United States are caused by distracted driving. That is 3450 people per year. Compare that number to drunk driving fatalities at 10265 in 2014 and it is clear distracted driving is a problem (CDC 2014). Authorities on Minnesota roads are ticketing drivers to help curb distracted driving and texting while driving. In 2017 7357 citations were issued which is up 23% from 2016 where 5665 tickets were issued (Star Tribune 2018). Are citations the answer?It has yet to be proven if an increased number of citations will directly correlate with a reduced number of distracted drivers or related accidents. Why not take the responsibility upon ourselves to be aware and responsible drivers?
Do you have intermittent explosive disorder or #roadrage? 80% of drivers have admitted to aggressive or reactive driving. Stress, lack of sleep, driving conditions, and traffic all play a part in triggering our tempers while driving. Remember the only person you can control is yourself! Stopping on the side of the road, cutting off another vehicle, or yelling obscenities out your window won’t change how another person drives, it will only heighten the probability of an accident or confrontation, which we all should avoid. Get a stress ball! Take a few deep breaths! Sing along to the songs on the radio! Just don’t fall into the trap of reacting in anger.
A few tips:
If you insist on using your #mobiledevice while driving have it on hands free or voice activated mode. This allows your eyes to remain on the road and attentive to the drivers and vehicles around you.
Turn on the DO NOT DISTRUB! Apple, Google, and Android all include this feature on their devices. Put your phone where you cannot reach it. I personally will put mine in the trunk of my car, especially when the road conditions are poor, icy, or it’s snowing outside (I live in #Minnesota).
Tired driving is comparable to driving drunk. Think about your reaction time, how your irritability increases, and if you are putting your passengers at risk. Allow yourself enough time to arrive at your destination, without leaving too late. If you drive late or after a long day of work get 8 hours of sleep the night before! Or take a pre-driving nap to refresh yourself before departing on that 4 hour drive at 6pm.
Drive with another person. Passengers help keep drivers awake, accountable, and notice the little things on the road the driver may not see. You’ll be happy to have company on any trip, long or short.
Communicate with your teen regarding statistics and best practices regarding safe driving. Monitor their phone usage while on the road or create rules for your teen to follow while driving. Research your vehicle’s safety features and those of your cell phone carrier. Know how to enforce safety while driving. Does DO NOT DISTURB mode turn on automatically when the vehicle starts?
It all comes down to being aware, to throwing out the misconception that you are not the problem, and practicing what you preach. Accidents and citations can and will happen. What will it take to detach our population from technology? Nothing is more important than our health and safety and the health and safety of our friends and family who get in the car with us.
The next time you grab for you cell phone while driving remember the danger and risk you and every other car on the road are placed in just for glancing in another direction, away from the number one priority, safe driving.
CDC. Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), 1993–2014 https://www.cdc.gov/brfss
Distracted Driving Safety Tips, Selective Insurance, 4/5/2018 http://social.selective.com/articles/distracted-driving-safety-tips
Star Tribune. Citations for texting while driving in Minnesota up 23 from 2016. 3/9/2018 http://www.startribune.com/citations-for-texting-while-driving-up-23-percent-from-2016/476382913/