I’m a mom to two teenagers. Our daughter has her driver’s license, but we are not confident about her driving abilities. We feel that she’s easily distracted and the littlest thing causes her to panic.
We also have a 16 year old son who also drives. Oddly enough he does better than his older sister. I guess all of those driving games he plays on the computer really helped him.
We try to educate our children that when you drive you are bombarded with things that can take away from your focus – other drivers, animals, debris blowing on to the road, passengers in your own car… the list goes on.
For the time being we tell our kids they need to keep the music off and conversation to a minimum until they develop better driving skills and more experience.
Cellphones are a huge “no-no” when it comes to driving. We tell our kids to not only put their phones in the backseat, but also to turn off the volume or turn them off completely, that way they are not distracted by an incoming phone call or text message.
I’m not sure about other states, but here in New York it’s against the law to drive while talking on the phone. I cannot tell yo how many drivers I have seen who totally ignore the LAW and continue to drive while talking on the phone. You can spot those driver’s easily enough because you can tell by their driving that they are distracted by something.
Some people think they are getting around that law by making “hands free” phone calls via a earpiece, their car’s built in phone system or using the hands free option and speaker on their cellphone.
Personally I think any kind of a phone call can be distracting whether it’s on your phone or done “hands free.” You should be 100% focused on your driving and the world around you and not chatting with your spouse about dinner or what to watch on T.V. that night.
If what you need to talk about is THAT IMPORTANT you should find a parking lot or a safe place to pull over and chat. Don’t chat when you are speeding down the thruway or in bumper-to-bumper traffic.
I never use my phone when driving. My phone is either in my purse in the backseat or side pocket on my car door (I have a small purse) or in my pocket. The only time you will visually see my phone when I am driving is if I need to charge it. Even then I place the phone in the cup holder in my car and forget it’s even there.
When you are not distracted you are better able to focus on what is going on around you so that you can deal with driving hazards. Take for example a recent incident with my husband. He went into the left lane to make a left hand turn. Someone coming from the opposite direction went into his lane thinking it was the turning lane to go into the diner. Had my husband not been 100% focuses on his driving he could have been involved in a head-on collision. Thankfully he was fully aware of his surroundings and was able to quickly get out of the turning lane before the other car hit him.
Another recent incident happened to me the other day. I was driving home from the store with my son when and elderly man with a cane stepped out into the road before me. I slammed on my breaks immediately. Turns out he suffers from dementia. Thankfully his daughter was with him to get him back on the sidewalk where they were walking.
If was even slightly distracted I could have hit him!
Driving is not a right – it’s a privileged. As such you should give it your un-divided attention all the time.
Don’t talk and drive. It’s that simple. If you feel you might be too tempted, put your phone in the backseat or trunk. Or simply turn off your phone so you are not tempted to check to see if you have text messages.
The National Safety Council has a wealth of information and resources to help you not to be a distracted driver. You can find all the materials here.
The NSC is also asking drivers to take the pledge to drive cell free. I hope you will take a moment to take the pledge. You can take the pledge here.
The NSC is also hosting a FREE 1 hour webinar on Wednesday April 6 at 12:00 PM (EST) / 9:00 AM (PST). The webinar is about how car manufacturers are in an arms race to make vehicles as connected as possible – but at what cost? Research is showing that voice-activated technologies may be distracting, which means they are not a good alternative to using a cell phone while driving. Please click here to register for the webinar.
To see what others are saying please check out the hashtag #TakeBackMyDrive and check out @NSCsafety on Twitter.
Do you use your phone (hands-free or in your hand) when driving? Why or why not? Feel free to share your thoughts on this matter.
*I have partnered with NSC to bring you this information. Although compensated the opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.