April is here. It’s Spring Break season. Gas prices are low. This means there are more and more people on the road. Which also means, distracted driving is going to be at an all-time high.
Leading causes of distractions include cell phones/technology, problems at home, lack of sleep, mind wandering, etc. Many people behind the wheel are going to have their minds elsewhere…especially this time for year.
We’ve talked about the distracted driving concern in our recent article with the theme of “when is enough, enough.” But with April being Distracted Driving Awareness Month, we felt it was time to shed some light on this topic again. It’s such an important subject because of the sheer volume of accidents and fatalities that result from drivers being distracted.
The National Safety Council Stats
The National Safety Council is working to create awareness with their #JustDrive campaign focused on getting people to “Take the Pledge” do not participate in distracted driving. Part of the problem, however, is that most people believe they are far better multi-taskers than they really are. Further, our 24/7 type society encourages constant connection to things such as email and social media. To better illustrate what we’re talking about, here are some statistics share by the National Safety Council…
– 47% of drivers believe it is safe to send a text either manually or via voice-dictation systems.
– 45% say they feel pressure from employers to check email while driving; however, 44 percent say they have crashed in the last three years while they were either commuting or traveling for business.
– 35% of teens would use social media behind the wheel.
– 17% of teens feel their own distraction may have contributed to a crash.
– 33% believe it is acceptable to drive with less than four hours of sleep.
Takeaways & Tips
The bottom line comes back to the notion that “everyone” essentially believes they are a better driver than what they really are. They feel as though they can take on more, do more things, and each time they do they grow more confident. What is often forgotten in the moment, is that all it takes is one mistake to completely change the game.
Let’s assume for a moment that your drivers have taken the pledge. They are not driving distracted, ever. That’s great, but they are always going to be surrounded by thousands of others who aren’t making that same pledge.
So what can they do about it?
Of course, the Smith System and defensive driving come to mind immediately. Always being prepared for the unexpected. And taking it a step further by questioning “what if?” is another way to help stay alert. What if that driver is on his phone? What if he’s about to come into my lane? These things help keep the mind active while being attentive to unsuspected surprises.
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