Distracted Driving: Safety Topic - August 21, 2023


Monday- Every Day Distractions

People are becoming busier with each year that passes, having more and more things occupying our mental space.  Additionally, with increased technology, we are seeing more apps, media, and advertisements meant to grab and hold our attention.  Keeping in mind that there are many things competing for our attention at any given time, we can categorize these into three main types of distractions:

Visual — taking your eyes off the road

Manual — taking your hands off the wheel                    

Cognitive — taking your mind off what you’re doing

Can you think of a time when you've been distracted on the road lately?  Were you just visualizing yourself driving down the road, eating a burger and not holding onto the steering wheel? Have you ever arrived somewhere and have no memory of driving there? If you do – you need to put the brakes on, put the burger down and try to ONLY drive while you are in the car. If your mind wanders, recognize that and actively bring your focus back to the road in front of you.

Tuesday – Driving Don’ts

  • Do not send or read texts when you are operating a motor vehicle
  • Do not use your cell phone, also don’t set your phone on your lap when you drive – that’s one more flying projectile you will have to worry about
  • Don’t touch up your makeup or hair while driving – you look beautiful as long as you arrive safely
  • Be careful what you eat when you are driving. While you can probably sneak a few French fries when you are behind the wheel, eating a giant hamburger, tacos,

salads, ice cream, etc. will detract from your focus on the road and occupy your hands while they should be occupied by the steering wheel

  • Drive under the influence of drugs and or alcohol
  • Drive aggressively, tailgate or speed. We have all looked at other drivers and seen someone waving their hands angrily, yelling – even swearing. Is that going to solve anything – No, it will just raise your blood pressure and make it even harder to stay focused on the road

Wednesday – Driving Do’s

  • Avoid distractions, such as adjusting the radio or other controls, eating or drinking, and talking or texting on the phone
  • Continually search the roadway to be alert to situations requiring quick action
  • Stop about every two hours for a break. Get out of the vehicle to stretch, take a walk, and get refreshed.
  • Reduce your stress by planning your route ahead of time, allow plenty of travel time, and avoiding crowded roadways and busy driving times when possible
  • Adjust your speed and increase your following distance when carrying heavier than normal loads and when you are towing
  • Use a seat belt at all times – driver and passengers
  • Adjust your driving for the conditions, including traffic, weather, pedestrians, rough roads and degree of light
  • Drive defensively
  • Use a hands-fee device for phone use if you have to use the phone while driving
  • Be well-rested before driving
  • Avoid taking medication that makes you drowsy before driving, including prescription and over-the-counter drugs
  • When on a road trip, set a realistic goal for the number of miles that you can drive safely each day

Thursday – Things to Keep in Mind

In a report released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in conjunction with the US Department of Transportation, several startling statistics were highlighted.

  • In 2021, distracted driving claimed 3,522 lives. This is up from 3,142 people in 2020.
  • Eight percent of fatal crashes, 14 percent of injury crashes, and 13 percent of all police-reported motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2021 were reported as distraction[1]affected crashes.
  • It’s estimated that 362,415 people injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes involving distracted drivers.
  • Five percent of all drivers involved in fatal traffic crashes in 2021 were reported as distracted at the time of the crashes. Seven percent of drivers 15 to 20 years old involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted.
  • In 2021 there were 644 nonoccupants (pedestrians, pedal cyclists, and others) killed in distraction-affected traffic crashes.
  • 47 states (including California) have bans on texting while driving. (IIHS)

What do you think about these statistics? What can you do today to change?

Learn More: Distracted Driving in 2021 (dot.gov)

Friday – Sub Topic

Have you ever been in a situation of distracted driving or know someone who has?

Please share your story and what you learned from it.


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