School is out and summer is here! That means more people are out on the road, making plans, and driving while distracted. Not only do we all need to be on the alert for distracted drivers, we need to make sure we avoid becoming one. As people depend on their smart phones for looking up information and connecting with friends, the temptation to use the phone and drive is overwhelming. Unfortunately, no matter how adept someone thinks they are at using their cell phone, driving requires 100 PERCENT of a driver’s attention. Driving while distracted can be fatal!
On average, it takes about five seconds to send or read a text message. That might not seem very long, but did you know that at 55 miles per hour a car travels the length of a football field during that five second interval? A lot can happen during the five seconds of that distracted driver’s journey, including a life-changing accident.
Here are some practical ideas to help you avoid becoming a distracted driver:
Mute it. Take a moment before pulling out of your parking spot to silence your phone. Once you are on the road, it will be easier to keep your mind off of your phone if it is not humming, vibrating, or otherwise beckoning you.
Stash it. Putting your phone in your purse, glovebox, or storage console is another way to help reduce the odds that you will be distracted by it.
No peaking. A lot of drivers like to sneak a quick look at their phones while stopped at a red light. The problem with this is that if you are not looking at the light, you will not know when it changes.
Tell people. Let everyone you call or text with know that you have a strict “no phone” policy while you are driving. That way you will not have to worry about someone thinking you are ignoring them.
Pull over. If it cannot wait make sure to pull over before using your phone. There are usually plenty of parking lots around that provide a great place to stop and do what you need to do.
Plan ahead. Before you press the ignition button or turn the key, do what you need to do. Let mom know you are leaving. Type your destination into your GPS app. Whatever you feel you need to do, do not do it as you are pulling out onto the street.
While everyone likes to save time by multi-tasking, it is important to understand that multi-tasking on the road too often means becoming a distracted driver. The time saved could turn into a life lost – in just an instant. Stay off the phone and stay safe!