It wasn’t until I found out I was pregnant with Kayleigh, that I really started to pay attention to my driving habits, and the driving habits of others. I had never given much thought about how my driving affected my own life and the lives of others, until I had a precious life growing inside of me – one that I would do anything to protect.
As my belly grew bigger, I became more and more cautious while driving or riding in a vehicle. After Kayleigh was born, I spent the first 3 months of her life sitting next to her in the back seat whenever we’d go out for a drive, even if it was just down the road. John felt like our taxi driver, but I wanted to make sure she was safe back there. I just couldn’t bring myself to sit in the front seat, and leave her in the back all by herself. She was so tiny and helpless. As I sat next to my sweet angel in the back seat, I was constantly looking over my shoulder, watching the drivers behind us, and in the lanes next to us, making sure that they weren’t going to hit us.
Are You Guilty of Doing Any of These Things While Driving?
It’s amazing what you see on the road when you actually pay attention – people eating, putting on make up, driving with animals on their laps, talking or texting on their cell phones, reading maps – all while sitting behind the wheel of a vehicle. Do they not realize how dangerous that is?! In the blink of an eye, people could be severely injured, or even killed, all because someone was distracted while driving. Is touching up your make up, or sending a text really worth that risk? No!
Distracted Driving Can Be Easily Prevented
Driving is something that requires a person’s full attention, and there are many ways to prevent distracted driving. All it takes is a little preparation before getting behind the wheel. Taking just a few minutes to prepare yourself for the trip ahead, even if it’s just down the street to the store, can make all the difference, and help to prevent car crashes.
1. Before you leave, make sure you are ready to leave. The vehicle is no place to be fixing your hair or putting on make up. Take care of all of that before you get into your vehicle.
2. Know your route before you leave. If you do end up getting lost and need to get directions, pull over to the side of the road before checking your map, or enlist the help of your passengers so you can keep your focus on driving.
3. Make sure all children and pets are secure before leaving. If they need to be attended to while you are driving, pull over. Reaching into the back seat while driving is a distraction, and can cause you to lose control of your vehicle.
4. Make all necessary vehicle adjustments before you start driving. Adjust your mirrors, climate controls, radio, GPS system, seat incline, etc., before hitting the road.
5. Make sure all loose items in your vehicle are secure before driving. You don’t want to be reaching down to pick something up that has rolled under your foot while you are driving.
6. Never use any electronic devices while driving. Do not use your cell phone to make phone calls, text, browse the internet or anything else while driving. If you absolutely MUST use your cell phone, pull over to the side of the road and turn your vehicle off first.
7. Try to eat before you leave, or after you arrive at your destination. Avoid eating messy foods in your vehicle, as they can be hard to manage while driving. Also, do not smoke cigarettes while driving.
8. Keep the sun out of your eyes by using your vehicle’s sun visors and/or sunglasses while driving.
9. If you feel drowsy while driving, stop somewhere close and safe to sleep for a bit, or call someone to come get you and your vehicle.
10. Devote your FULL attention to driving. Continuously scan the road, use your mirrors, and be on the lookout for pedestrians, animals and other objects that may make their way into your driving path. Obey all traffic signs, and pay close attention to other vehicles.
Share these tips with your friends and family. Together, we can help put an end to distracted driving.
Decide to Drive
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the Auto Alliance want to increase awareness about the risks of distracted driving. The Decide to Drive program aims to empower drivers and passengers to speak up about distracted driving, continue the conversation at home, work and play, and reduce distracted behaviors behind the wheel.
Enter to Decide to Drive Catchphrase Contest through June 13, 2014, and you could win a $1,000 Visa Gift Card (and the potential of having your idea featured prominently in a nationwide Decide to Drive campaign!); two runners-up will receive $500 Visa Gift Cards. This contest is open to everyone 18+ in the US.
Did You Know?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), of the nearly 33,000 roadway fatalities in 2012, there were 3,328 fatalities and approximately 421,000 injuries in distracted driving-related crashes.
The next time you get behind the wheel, remember, the most advanced safety feature of any vehicle is the driver!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.