Drivers should limit their distractions
Driving while distracted is quickly becoming an epidemic, but it can be prevented. Every person who gets behind the wheel of a car can take actions to minimize distractions. According to distraction.gov, the U.S. government’s official website for distracted driving, there were 3,331 people killed in crashes in 2011 that involved a distracted driver.
There are a number of distractions that can occur while driving — eating, navigating, adjusting the radio — but texting is by far the most distracting. Distraction.gov also states that sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent — at 55 mph — of driving the length of an entire football field, blind.
So what can be done to prevent distracted driving? While behind the wheel, drivers should limit their distractions. Do not attempt to eat, apply makeup, adjust the radio or navigation system, grab for out-of-reach items, or use a cell phone in any way. If a call or text comes in you can pull over into the nearest parking lot where you can safely respond.
One of the most important aspects is spreading the knowledge of distracted driving. If you know someone drives distracted, or you happen to be in the car when someone drives while distracted, take it upon yourself to educate them and ask that they stop.
Parents can sit down with their kids and talk to them about the consequences of distracted driving. There are a number of websites with information, videos, statistics, and pledge forms that are free for use (distraction.gov and textinganddrivingsafety.com are two such sites). You can help put a stop to the preventable accidents and deaths caused by distracted driving.
Katie Harold, RN