Guilty. Yep, I am. I don’t need any reports, ads, or commercials to tell me I’m guilty. I just know it. What is this awful admission? Being a distracted driver. Yes, in my much, much, young days I’d find a coffee in one hand, cigarette in the other, circling the northwest arm driving my 5 speed, manual transmission, two door coupe. Looking as cool as one thinks she is. Was that dangerous? Yep, no doubt about it.
Fast forward 20 years later. Thankfully, I quickly became bored with the bad habits of my youth. The worst typically that happens now, is putting on lipstick in the mirror on the way to work, or flipping the music from station to station when the kids are in tow. In 2014 life is busier. We move thru life in the fast lane. Whether it is getting everyone out the door in the morning, and getting to work on time, or getting home after work, and getting the kids to cubs, brownies, or hockey on time. Those distractions can easily lead into driving time. Who hasn’t had a meal on the go? Fast lane thru the drive thru. Who hasn’t taken a phone call from their spouse coordinating plans? Fast lane on your phone. Who hasn’t tried to calm their screeching child by picking up a toy off the floor, all while trying to keep their vehicle moving down the road? Fast lane of life.
In an instant, we can be reminded of how important it is to stop. Stop and take a break. Five minutes late? Better than never arriving. You are 23 times more likely to crash when texting and driving, according to the US National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, and about 6 times more likely to cause an accident than driving intoxicated. This serves as a reminder for us to be aware who is watching when we are driving, our mini me’s. They learn from what they see, whether it is what we are doing while driving, or how we act during a frustrating moment on the road. We set the example, the standard, for safety.
Allstate Insurance gives us some good reminders of how to behave on the road and tips to help reduce your chances of getting a collision:
Adapt to road conditions: While drivers must be extra careful when driving in snow, ice or rain, studies have shown that more fatal collisions happen when conditions are clear and roads are dry. A study from Transport Canada indicates that drivers are often tempted to take risks with speed when road conditions are normal. Always drive carefully regardless of the weather.
Never tailgate: The Ministry of Transportation recommends that drivers maintain at least two seconds between their vehicle and the one in front of them in good driving conditions. In wet or slippery conditions, you should leave more than two seconds.
Don’t give in to “road rage": Aggressive driving behaviors can lead to serious collisions. Remember to drive considerately and remain calm while driving.
Slow down: Drivers can reduce the need to speed by leaving early and allowing extra time to arrive at their destination.
Obey the rules of the road: Use your turn signal to indicate a turn or lane change, by signaling, other drivers can gauge their reactions and maintain safety on the road. Always come to a complete stop at a stop sign and only enter an intersection if you can cross it safely before the light turns red.
Keep your car in good shape: Make sure your brakes, exhaust, lights, battery, windshield wipers and hoses are all in good working order. Tires should also be properly inflated. Keeping your car in good condition will help to keep it safe.
Don’t drive while under the influence: According to MADD Canada, every day, on average, four Canadians are killed and 174 are injured in impaired driving crashes. Always plan ahead and designate a sober driver (that includes no drinking and no drugging), take a taxi, walk with a friend, take local transit, or make arrangements to spend the night.
And of course – Just Drive: Avoid distractions like changing your music, fiddling with your GPS unit or using your cell phone while you drive.
The next time you hear the Super Mario ding, reminding you that you have a Facebook notification, or someone retweets you, stop and think for… how about 11 seconds? One second for each of the 11 teens killed each day, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. More teens die in car crashes caused by distracted driving than anyone else. If you have a teen that is now driving, or close to being a driver, have a discussion with about and the dangers of distracted driving. Here is a link to an awesome parent-teen contract developed by
Allstate Insurance to get the conversation started.
Visit O’Regan’s Kia Dartmouth at 402 Windmill Rd, Dartmouth or www.oreganskiadartmouth.comfor all your family’s automotive needs. Amanda Morvan, General Manager, is mother to 2 school age children, and partner to her husband who attends college full time.