Here’s a label you don’t want to claim – Distracted Driver. But sadly, the majority of us are distracted drivers.
Did you know that the month of April is Distracted Driver Awareness Month? Probably not. It doesn’t seem to get enough press. Although just two weeks ago I read about a guy in Tampa who bent down to pick up a cigarette and drove over a mom with her three kids killing the three-year-old daughter. The family was just taking their daily stroll along the sidewalk. It’s horrific.
How many times have we taken our eyes off the road? Distracted driving can be anything from eating, to picking something off the floor, to changing the radio, to reading a map and of course – cell phones.
Statistics show that when you take your eyes off the road for four seconds, the typical time it takes to read a text message, it’s comparable to driving the length of a football field at 60 miles per hour – with your eyes closed. That’s a lot of ground to cover at a fast speed while distracted. Pretty scary.
I wrote about it last year, and I’ll write about it every because I guarantee it’ll get worse until it gets better. Whether it’s a cigarette or more notorious, a cell phone, distracted driving is becoming the norm. We think we’re invincible and we can handle it. We believe we’re great drivers. But you know what – we can’t handle all of the distractions, and only time will tell. We’ve got to quit multi-tasking, get off the phone and focus on the task at hand – driving.
I admit – I’m a distracted driver. It’s pretty pathetic, really. My cell phone rings – I answer it. My cell phone dings, I read the text message (at a red light, of course.) My cell phone vibrates, I read the email – at a red light of course. Seriously? Why has it become the norm to read text messages and emails at red lights? And who are we really kidding? If the light turns green – do we put the phone down or do we attempt to read it while driving? We’re playing with fire and we will get burned. And sadly, others will get burned, too.
Enough is enough. We’ve got to gain some self-control. I’m preaching to myself when I type this. I’m the worst when it comes to talking on the phone while driving, or even trying to get off a quick text at a red light. I rationalize and tell myself I can talk on the phone and drive. What’s the big deal? But you know what? I’ve run through a stop sign because I was talking on the phone. Our brains are not meant to multitask. There’s the famous saying – you give an inch, and they take a mile. And sadly, a mile can kill others if we’re not careful. It takes 30 days to form a habit. Let’s be an example for our kids and form great driving habits.
If you’re not sure whether you’re a distracted driver, check out my previous post, 10 Signs You’re a Distracted Driver and decide for yourself. The basic message: lets get off our phones when we drive. Put it in the car trunk if we have to. We won’t die and thankfully – no one else will either. If it’s directions you need, plan ahead and heaven forbid – write them on a piece of paper. You WILL get where you need to be — safely.