Distracted driving is a growing problem on our roads today. Anything that takes your eyes off the road, or that takes away from your attention to your surroundings, increases your risk of being involved in a collision. Combined with other risk behaviours such as speeding or alcohol impairment, distracted driving can have deadly consequences.
If you drive when you are unable to give all of your attention to your driving, you’re putting yourself, your passengers, and others at risk. You can make a difference.
Pull over to a safe location before using or answering the phone. Even hands free cell phones require some attention, which should be focused on the road ahead and the drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians behind, beside, and ahead of you.
Keep both hands on the wheel, not on your text messaging. Amazingly, some people still think they can do it all – drive a vehicle travelling at 40 feet per second through town while sending a text message to their friend. Text messaging requires as much attention as driving, even if that’s just for seconds at a time. You can travel a long way into a danger while you’re reviewing your text message. It’s one of the stupidest things you can do while driving.
Insist on your right to be safe as a passenger. No one has the right to put you at risk for their convenience. Say no to any behaviour by your driver that draws attention away from the road.
Don’t be a distraction. If you want to be safe as a passenger, you have to avoid distracting your driver. Don’t get into arguments, keep your voice level (even when you see a potential collision ahead), avoid loud noises, and don’t allow children to be a distraction.
Eat at home or at your destination. Half of all drivers drive while eating or drinking a beverage. At any time, you may need to respond suddenly to steer out of danger, which can’t happen if your hands are otherwise occupied.
Avoid loud music on your radio or the use of headphones. Driving requires paying attention to your surroundings. If you can’t hear a siren or a warning horn, you are placing yourself and others at risk.
The OPP and corporate sponsors have produced a brief video illustrating the dangers of distracted driving which includes victim testimony and explores the attitudes of young adults towards this dangerous practice. Click here to watch the video.