Never Let Up on Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is a national epidemic and we all know it. More than 3,000 people will die and over 400,000 are injured each year as a result of motor vehicle crashes involving distracted driving. In Minnesota, distracted or inattentive driving is a factor in in one out of four crashes, resulting in tragic loss of life and divesting injuries.
Did you know that at any given moment there are over 660,000 vehicles being driven by someone using a handheld device. That’s a frightening statistic and helps explain why more than 20 percent of teens surviving fatal accidents report being distracted at the time of the crash.
April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month and it’s time for us to all join forces to help do something and save lives. Here are 10 tips from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) for managing some of the most common distractions while driving:
- Turn It Off – Either turn off your phone or switch to silent mode before you get in the car.
- Spread the Word – Set up a special message that tells callers you’re driving and will respond as soon as you can. You can enable some phones to do this automatically when you get in the car.
- Pull Over – If you need to make a call, pull over and stop in a safe area first.
- Deputize Your Passengers – Ask your passengers to answer or make calls for you. Conversely, if you are a passenger, offer to answer the driver's phone.
- X the Text – Don’t ever text and drive, surf the Web or check email. It is dangerous and against the law in most states.
- Know the Law – Familiarize yourself with state and local laws before you start driving. Some prohibit the use of handheld cell phones in addition to texting. The GHSA offers this useful chart.
- Prepare – Review maps and directions before you start to drive. If you need help when you are on the road, ask a passenger or pull over to review your directions again.
- Secure Your Pets – Pets can be a big distraction in the car. Always secure your pets properly before you start to drive.
- Keep the Kids Safe – Pull over if you need to address situations with your children in the car.
- Focus on the Task at Hand – Avoid smoking, eating, drinking, reading and any other activity that takes your eyes off the road, hands off the wheel or mind off your driving.