Put all distractions on hold on the road

Published in For the Health of It Author: Melissa Pribyl, MSN, RN

In this country, each day it is estimated that nine deaths and over 1,000 crashes occur due to distracted driving. While current prevention efforts largely focus on teens and texting, the truth is that all drivers need to be attentive to their driving habits.

Did you know?

Minnesota’s No Texting While Driving Law includes more than just texting. It also makes reading e-mail or accessing the internet illegal while driving. This includes when you are stopped in traffic or at a red light.

Distracted driving isn’t just looking at your cell phone. It’s anything that takes your eyes off the road, your hands off the steering wheel or your mind off the task at hand.

Keep in mind this entire list of potential distractions:

  • Phone etiquette: To keep your full attention on the road, place your phone somewhere you won’t be tempted to use it. Otherwise, turn it off or — if possible — give it to another passenger. You may also be able to set up your phone to automatically enter “Do Not Disturb” mode while driving.
  • Don’t turn that dial: Pre-program your favorite music stations. Or if you are listening to anything from your phone during your trip, set it up before you begin.
  • It’s takes a team: If you need help getting where you are going, have a passenger help you with directions. Or, again, plan your route before you go.
  • Refuel later: Avoid eating and driving. If you visit the drive thru, park your vehicle and take a few minutes to eat before you hit the road.
  • Not the time or place: Don’t let your passengers engage in any behavior that’s distracting. And if you get a phone call while driving, make a habit of declining the call. Or pull over in a safe location to take the call.

Remember that your good habits can help you model safe behavior for the new and future drivers in your car. You’ll never know when all of your efforts will make a difference in saving a life — including possibly your own.