Distracted driving is an activity that claims thousands of lives yearly, and the sad thing is it’s easily preventable. Eating, texting, talking, or fiddling with the radio are all examples of distracted driving; anything that takes your eyes and attention off the road. Driving is something most of us do every day, so it becomes like second nature; sometimes that makes it easy to slip into unsafe habits. Here at Weinstein, our security guards drive daily through Sonoma, Marin, and Napa counties, and safety is one of our primary concerns. Together we can help make the North Bay’s roads safer for everyone!
One of the best places to start with distracted driving prevention is before you even get in the car. Put on your makeup, brush your hair, and eat before you even get in the vehicle, so you won’t be tempted to do these while driving. Adjust your mirrors, GPS, seats, etc first thing when you get in the car before you even start moving. Bundle up anything that might be loose and could roll around in your car, so that you don’t have to reach down to grab anything. Always keep in mind that having children or pets in the car can lead to distractions; simply being aware of this can help you stay more focused!
The advent of cellphones has been especially tricky in terms of distracted driving, as many people feel the urge to respond to texts and calls as soon as they happen. It’s important to remember that reading or sending a text requires you to take your eyes off the road for a minimum of 5 seconds, which can be potentially very dangerous, especially at higher speeds. One of the great things about cell phones is that you can easily get back to people at your convenience; always wait until you’re parked and finished driving before returning calls and texts! If you have trouble ignoring your phone while driving, turn it off until you get to your destination.
Being tired is also a type of distracted driving; the more tired you are, the slower your response time tends to be. Even if you feel awake enough to be driving, it’s important to be extra cautious; reducing your speed and allowing room between vehicles will allow you extra time to avoid any potential mishaps that may happen on the road. If you’re feeling so tired that you’re having trouble keeping your eyes open, pull into a rest stop or over to the side of the road for a bit until you feel more alert. Studies have shown impulse control goes down when you’re tired, so being tired can actually make it harder for you to ignore your phone if it rings! Just remember that no phone call or text is worth any kind of injury- to you or others. Practicing safe, alert driving is a great way to contribute to the safety of our community!