|(Decide to Drive logos are courtesy of decidetodrive.org)|
I am what some might call an extremely cautious driver. Before leaving our driveway I make sure both of my kids are buckled in their car seats/boosters properly, seat belt buckled, etc. When I'm on the road, I follow the speed limit to the letter, along with all other rules of the road. If I'm not sure I can make a turn in time, I wait. I take every precaution possible to make sure that I can get my children from point a to point b safely. But try as I might, I cannot control everything on the road...or every person.
Let's think about it for a minute. How many times have you been driving along, minding your own business when another car gets just a little too close for comfort, crossing briefly into your lane. You look over to see them chatting away on their cell phone, or worse yet sending a text message. Unfortunately, this is something we see all too often.
And let's be honest...most of us have been guilty of driving while distracted at least once in our life. A quick text or phone call. Reaching for something in the seat next to you. Trying to comfort a crying baby. Eating, drinking, putting on lip gloss. Yes, even a driver as cautious as myself can find themselves fiddling with the radio when they shouldn't! We like to think that we're better drivers than those who find themselves in vehicle crashes while texting- a better multitasker perhaps...but the reality is all it takes is one brief moment to find ourselves in their shoes. I don't know about you, but with my kids in the car with me, that's certainly something I don't want.
And neither does the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the Auto Alliance. Instead, they want to raise awareness of the risks of distracted driving. Their Decide to Drive program aims to empower drivers and passengers to speak up about the issue and continue the conversation at home, work and play. And of course the ultimate goal is to reduce distracted behaviors behind the wheel.
Did you know that according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) there were 3,328 fatalities (of the nearly 33,000) and approximately 421,000 injuries in distracted driver related crashes? Orthopaedic surgeouns- those specialists who are responsible for putting the bones and limbs back together after road crashes- along with their partners would rather drivers 'decide to drive' every time they get in the car. It's the most surefire way to keep bones and limbs in tact.
So, what can you do to reduce distracted driving?
- Wait. Do you NEED to answer that call at this very second? Or that text? Or even change the radio station or eat that burger? 9 times out of 10 the answer is probably no. So call them back when you get to where you are going, or find a safe place to pull over if you can. There is nothing worth that risk.
- Go hands free. If it truly can't wait, hands free options are certainly the safer option. Bluetooth and voice operated systems allow you to answer and talk while keeping your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. Still, even when using hands free, be sure to remember the road should always be #1 priority.
- Plan ahead. If you're like me and can't get anywhere without your GPS, be sure to plan ahead and have your destination put in BEFORE you leave. It's also great to have your GPS mounted in the car to make it easy to see if needed, and your volume loud enough that you don't need to look constantly.
Learn more about #decidetodrive and partners at the links below:
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.