Behind-the-Wheel Distractions = A Recipe for Disaster
April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month
This message is courtesy of the California Office of Traffic Safety. Read the official press release here.
Keeping both hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road sounds simple enough, right? But these driving fundamentals become nearly impossible when a driver is distracted. According to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, engaging in visual-manual subtasks (such as reaching for a phone, dialing and texting) associated with the use of hand-held phones and other portable devices increase the risk of getting into a crash by three times.
In recognition of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month this April, the California Office of Traffic Safety shares the following tips to staying focused while driving and minimizing all behind-the-wheel distractions.
- Never talk, text, email or use apps on a cell phone while driving. Remember: It’s Not Worth It
- Better yet, turn off your phone and place it out of reach as soon as you get in the car
- Record a new outgoing voicemail message that says you can’t come to the phone because you’re busy OR because you may be driving. This gives you a great excuse and gets the point across to your caller
- Never call or text anyone else when you think they may be driving, especially if you’re a parent trying to call your kids
- If a call or text absolutely can’t wait, pull over into a parking spot and conduct your call safely
- Never reach for anything dropped on the floorboard, back seat or other side of the car
- Conduct grooming activities at home
- Eat before you leave the house, or stop along the way to grab a bite
- Adjust all of your radio controls and set your song playlist before you hit the road
- Listen to – don’t watch – GPS devices and make sure to input your destination before leaving or stop to change your route if necessary
- Never take notes, look at a map or dig around in a purse, glove box, or in the backseat while driving. If necessary, find a safe spot to pull over and stop the vehicle before looking for something
High visibility ‘zero tolerance’ enforcement operations will be conducted by the CHP and hundreds of law enforcement agencies across the state for the entire month of April. Those caught talking or texting on a cell phone or other handheld device will be ticketed. A first offense ticket costs a minimum of $162, and subsequent offenses can cost at least $282.
To avoid the traffic fines, car crashes and life-altering consequences that are associated with driving while distracted, eliminate your distractions when behind the wheel. For more information regarding distracted driving facts, please visit www.ots.ca.gov.