April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, a united national effort to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving and eliminate preventable deaths and injuries on our roadways. We are focusing on spreading awareness about distracted driving, and this message isn’t just targeting teens — everyone, no matter what their age is guilty of not giving their full attention to the roadway at some point or another.
New NSC estimates show that our roads are the most dangerous they’ve been in years.
With these alarming statistics in mind, it’s important to share this information in hopes drivers will slow down, stay alert, and off of their phones when driving to protect themselves and those around them.
Now, don’t forget, distracted driving doesn’t just mean being on a cell phone while behind the wheel — it’s any activity that takes your attention away from the road.
In a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, researchers found drivers can even experience a “hangover effect” where the mind stays distracted for up to 27 seconds after using smartphones or voice-to-text vehicle infotainment systems to send text messages, make phone calls, or update social media. Click here, if you want to read more on that.
Distracted driving, including hands-free phone use and infotainment systems, puts everyone at risk.
Here is what you can do for Distracted Driving Awareness Month (and the following months) to make yourself, your family, your employees, and our roads safer:
- As a general rule, if you cannot devote your full attention to driving because of some other activity, it’s a distraction. Take care of it before or after your trip, not while behind the wheel.
- Fully focus on driving. Do not let anything divert your attention, actively scan the road, use your mirrors and watch out for pedestrians and cyclists.
- If another activity demands your attention, instead of trying to attempt it while driving, pull off the road and stop your vehicle in a safe place. To avoid temptation, power down or stow devices before heading out.
- If you have passengers, enlist their help so you can focus safely on driving.
- Secure children and pets before getting underway. If they need your attention, pull off the road safely to care for them. Reaching into the backseat can cause you to lose control of the vehicle.
- Put aside your electronic distractions. Don’t use cell phones while driving – handheld or hands-free – except in absolute emergencies. Never use text messaging, email functions, video games, or the internet with a wireless device, including those built into the vehicle, while driving.
- Snack smart. If possible, eat meals or snacks before or after your trip, not while driving. On the road, avoid messy foods that can be difficult to manage.
- Make adjustments before your get underway. If you will be using GPS enter the address before driving. Decide on your route and check traffic conditions ahead of time. Adjust seats, mirrors, climate controls, and sound systems before hitting the road.
- Finish dressing and personal grooming at home – before you get on the road.
- Store loose gear, possessions, and other distractions that could roll around in the car, so you do not feel tempted to reach for them on the floor or the seat.
Commit to driving phone-free today.