Daylight savings time can mean brighter moods and more time for fun in the sun. With road trips and the to and fro of people wanting to be out in the beautiful weather, it’s easy to forget about safe driving practices. Traffic fatalities tend to spike during this time in destinations where college students and families travel.
Remember that distracted driving can cause an accident. According to distraction.gov, the official U.S. Government website for distracted driving, in 2014, over 3,000 people in the United States were killed, and 430,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers. It is vital to plan ahead before getting behind the wheel.
The top four distractions are: visual distractions which involve looking at a map or something on the side of the road, audible distractions such as a radio playing too loudly or a passenger talking to the driver, physical distraction like answering a phone call, texting, or eating, and mental or cognitive distractions like thinking about a problem at work or trying to remember a grocery list.
“Every day in the Emergency Room, we see tragic accidents that could have been avoided. There is nothing you could be doing behind the wheel that can’t wait until it’s safe. If you need to look at a map or take a phone call, consider pulling over or at least invest in a hands-free option so that both of your hands can remain on the wheel,” said Duncan Donald, M.D., medical director of Surgical and Trauma Services at Forrest General.
Here are some safety tips for your drive:
- Don’t use your cellphone while driving! Cellphone use while driving should be for emergencies only, otherwise pull over safely to right side of the road to make a call or text.
- Don’t drive while drowsy. If you are tired, get off the road.
- Don’t apply makeup or eat while driving. This may seem like a time-saver in the morning, but it causes you to be less attentive to the drivers around you.
- Don’t give your child or pet more attention than the road. Secure children and pets before getting underway. If they need your attention, pull off the road safely to care for them. Reaching into the backseat can cause you to lose control of the vehicle.
- Plan your trip ahead of time. Knowing which roads and exits to take ahead of time can keep you from relying so heavily on your GPS.