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car accidents

Behind the Wheel

Beyond Texting: Distracted Driving Comes In All Forms

July 7, 2014
By now, most states have banned texting while driving on the road, and Kansas is no exception. Here, texting is illegal for all drivers, and any cell phone use is banned for all learner permit and intermediate license holders. And some states, like California, even require hands-free equipment for talking on a cell phone at all while driving at any age. Clearly, cell phones present a huge distraction to drivers, and the government is doing everything they can to minimize the frightening consequences that can come from the deadly combination.
Distracted driving is about more than texting But as the laws are becoming more strict about cell phone use in the driver’s seat, it makes me even more aware of all the other things drivers do while they are on the road. There are so many other crazy things that people do in an effort to multi-task or entertain themselves while on the road! And just because the law doesn’t blatantly say anything against these activities, it doesn’t mean it’s any better than texting while driving. My challenge to you Today I want to challenge all of you to think about what you do while you drive that is unnecessary and potentially dangerous. I love AT&T’s “It Can Wait” campaign, where drivers pledge to pull over before they ever text while on the road, and I think this campaign can apply to so many other activities! Here are a few guidelines to get you thinking about how you can be a safer, more focused driver: 1. If you get fast food at the drive-thru, eat any messy or complicated items before you leave the parking lot 2. Never put on makeup or fix your hair while driving 3. Let the passenger play DJ and pick the music for you — especially if it’s on your iPod or phone 4. Consider using a headset or built-in speaker system for answering all phone calls while driving 5. Don’t turn around to have animated conversations with your passengers — look in the rearview mirror if you really need to check something out in the back seat 6. If you feel sleepy while on a road trip or commuting, pull over! Take a nap before returning to the wheel. 7. ALWAYS wear your glasses if your license requires you to wear a prescription while driving
8. Let your passenger look up directions, read street signs and navigate maps, if possible 9. Don’t look down at your phone for any other reason while on the road 10. Never watch movies or read books while driving 11. Keep your eyes on the road and don’t get distracted by other car accidents or action you might pass by 12. Lower the volume on your music so that you can still hear cars and other noises outside the car 13. Pull over if you need to reach for something in the passenger seat or back seat 14. Let someone else take the wheel if you know you’ll be in a situation where you could become an aggressive driver 15. Of course, NEVER get behind the wheel if you’ve been drinking! Avoiding disaster All right, those are my tips for all the other kinds of distracted driving out there. See how many other things we do while behind the wheel? It’s so eye-opening when you read through a list like this — I know I’m guilty of eating in the car and other things you might think are harmless! After reading up on the odds ratio of why car accidents happen, I realized how important it is to avoid these things at all costs! If you’re still wondering what activities may be potentially dangerous while driving, take these great quizzes put out by AAA!