There has been a lot of focus lately on distracted driving because of cell phone usage, texting and other hand-held electronics. While these devices can and do cause accidents because of persons paying attention to them instead of the road, there are still many other items (and people) within your vehicle that can cause a distraction and shouldn’t be ignored… well actually, they should be ignored!
I can’t stand that song! How many times have you been driving down the road and a song is played on your favorite radio station that you just can’t stand? You’ve heard it one time, you’ve heard it a thousand times and it’s just something you never want to hear again! So it’s time to switch the channel.
You look down and realize that the channel you want to switch to is not on your presets and you need to filter through all the channels to find just the right one. Those moments of your eyes wandering down to your stereo can be the difference between being able to stop and not. Keep in mind, your vehicle that is travelling at 60 miles per hour is covering 88 feet of roadway each second. An average car is about 14 feet in length, which means you’re traveling more than 6 car lengths in just 1 second! Now that sounds fast.
So those little “everyday” distractions that happen while driving can make a big difference in your safety, you family’s safety, and those around you in other vehicles, on bicycles, and out walking. Take some time to talk with the passengers in your car and explain how even in a second or two of inattention, you car has travelled a long distance (almost half of a football field in two seconds). If there was some stationary object, person, or animal in the roadway it may just be too late to stop.
This also brings up the importance of a safe following distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. Keeping that safe distance that will give you the time necessary to stop is critical because you never know what inadvertent distractions may occur that takes your attention away from where it should be when behind the wheel. Don’t forget that your following distance also must increase with inclement weather conditions as your vehicle will not stop as fast or be as responsive on slippery, wet, roadways.
We can reduce crashes in our community and keep our roadways safe by remembering our number one priority when behind the wheel is driving. Please, Pay Attention and Drive Safe!