In years and decades past, drunk driving and drowsy driving were significant problems that potentially led to injuries or even fatalities on the road. While these issues still exist, there is an additional culprit rearing its ugly head among drivers of all ages and backgrounds. It’s called distracted driving, and it can be as dangerous as any factor in crashes and incidents on highways and streets. Distracted driving can take various forms, but it often presents itself with drivers talking, texting, engaging in social media, or browsing the internet on their smartphones. It’s also not uncommon to see people at the wheel taking photos or creating videos. Smartphones and other media aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, so it’s critical to find ways to reduce their usage in vehicles and focus on the important task of safe driving.
Put the Phones Out of Reach
If your phone isn’t around, it’ll be a lot harder for it to distract you. Many drivers keep their phones right next to them in the center console or in the door compartments. Some people even have their phone on their lap or in their hand. These temptations are too hard to pass up for people in the captain’s chair. Make the commitment to put phones in the backseat or in the glove box—in some place where you can’t touch it.
Show Them How It’s Done
We need to If you’re a parent, you have a significant responsibility to your children, especially those of driving age, to practice safety and avoid distracted driving. How can you say to your kids, “We need to make our roads safe,” if you aren’t doing your part? Stay off your phone when you’re at the wheel. That includes not texting or perusing social media while you’re at a stoplight. Parents aren’t the only ones who can make a difference. Children can remind parents to focus on the road and keep their hands on the wheel. If you’re driving with friends, have the courage to tell distracted drivers to knock it off. Or, if you’re the one at the controls, wait until you’re out of the car and off the road to use your device.
Educate Yourself and Others
It’s one thing to hear a parent, teacher, friend, or colleague preach the dangers of media distractions for drivers. It’s even more effective if you see evidence to back up the advice. Learn everything you can about these perils. Find out who it affects, how frequently accidents occur because of phone usage in the car, and how many deaths are related to distracted driving. Post what you learn on social media. Talk to those you love about it. Vow to obey traffic laws and avoid anything that could distract you from operating your vehicle.
Nothing is more important than your well-being and the safety of those closest to you. One split-second of distraction could change—or end—a life. One text, one social media post, one click on a web page isn’t worth the trouble that could result.