Tips to avoid distracted driving

It seems to appear in the news far too frequently—car crashes, injuries, and deaths from distracted driving. It is devastating and so senseless to lose a life to something that could have been prevented. Crashes from distracted driving habits are no accidents… put away the phone, stop messing with the radio, keep your hands on the wheel, and your eyes on the road.

distracted driving facts

Has it happened to you? I’ve never been in a crash as a driver, but I have as a passenger. My friend was just playing with the radio or maybe the CD player and she looked away from the road for too long. The car in front of her had stopped to turn left and by the time my friend noticed, it was too late. She slammed on the brakes, but we crashed. Thankfully everyone was okay and it was just a fender bender, but I flew up and forward, hitting my head hard on the roof of the car. We weren’t going that fast, it was a minor crash, AND I had my seat belt on… and I still got hurt. It just goes to show how much distracted driving can really do.

Recently my state of IL passed a law that says NO PHONES in the car. You cannot text or find music, you cannot even TALK on the phone (unless using it hands-free voice operated). Not even when stopped at a red light! I have to admit I’ve been guilty of checking my phone in the car. I have that awful FOMO (“fear of missing out”) as many people that work online do. Also, I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve seen other people in their cars looking down at their phones. I think this is a fantastic new law and it makes my family feel safer.

tips to avoid distracted driving

Tips to avoid distracted driving:

  • Turn your phone off. Yea, it really could be that simple.
  • Put your phone in your glove compartment! Or in your purse that stays on the passenger side. I don’t like the idea of it being totally far away in the case of an emergency, but far enough that I’m not tempted to grab it if I hear a new email or text pop up. Actually, I often give my phone to my son in the car and let him play games on it—you know he won’t let me have it back 😉
  • Keep the music volume down. I enjoy singing in the car, but it can get distracting. Plus, if there’s any type of siren around, you need to be able to hear it.
  • Get everything set before you go. Fix the mirrors, adjust your seat, set the radio station, buckle your seat belt, give your kids their books/toys/drinks… don’t try to do those things while you’re moving.
  • Pull over. IF a child needs your help with something, you want to change the CD, or you HAVE to make a phone call that can’t wait… pull over. Stop at the nearest parking lot.
  • Remember that NOTHING is worth a car crash. That text you want to send or phone call you need to take. The “driving selfie” in the mirror. The lipstick or mascara before your meeting. It will never be worth it.

distracted driving checklistShare this with anyone you know that falls into distracted driving!

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the Auto Alliance want to increase awareness about the risks of distracted driving. The Decide to Drive program aims to empower drivers and passengers to speak up about distracted driving, continue the conversation at home, work and play, and reduce distracted behaviors behind the wheel.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), of the nearly 33,000 roadway fatalities in 2012, there were 3,328 fatalities and approximately 421,000 injuries in distracted driving-related crashes.

Orthopaedic surgeons (the specialists who put bones and limbs back together after road crashes and traumas), along with our partners, the automakers, would rather help all drivers “decide to drive” each time they get in the car and to keep bones and limbs intact. The most important safety feature of any car is YOU, the driver. Stay engaged at all times. I promise nothing else is worth the distraction of taking your eyes off the road or your hands of the wheel. Visit the Decide to Drive website for more information, downloads, and ways to get involved.

distracted driving behind the wheel

Do you have the best slogan or catch phrase to make the Decide to Drive campaign pop? Enter the Decide to Drive Catch Phrase Contest between May 28 – June 13. Your words could be chosen as the official Decide to Drive campaign catch phrase and you could win one of two $500 runner-up prizes or the $1,000 grand prize! Can’t wait to see what you come up with! Enter here:

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

8 comments to Tips to avoid distracted driving

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