• Defensive Driving Rule #18: Avoid Distractions

    When we assume our driving "duties," one of the most important is that we be responsible for our actions and the results of those actions. In almost every case, a driver involved in a collision had an opportunity to avoid the collision—even when the other driver was responsible for the errors that led to the collision. Officers will tell you that a very common "excuse" heard after a collision is, "I never saw him!" Why? Quite often, it's because they were not paying attention to their surroundings and situation - and many times, that inattention was because the driver was distracted. To be a safe and responsible driver, it's important to recognize this and make constant efforts to avoid getting distracted.

    Some of the most common driving distractions are: eating, drinking, applying make-up, talking on cell phones, adjusting the radio or changing CD's, dealing with rambunctious or misbehaving kids, or even just talking to passengers. Some drivers focus on single tasks (looking for an address, for example) and neglect all others. One of the most important skills for a driver is the ability to multi-task. Think about how much distance your vehicle is covering during the time you are distracted—at about 1.47 feet per second for each mile-per-hour you are driving, you can easily see how important it is to keep your mind and eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel! At 60 miles per hour, for example, every second that elapses you cover almost 90 feet (60 X 1.47 = 88.2)—all while you might be fumbling for the CD you dropped!

    You can help make the road much safer for yourself, your passengers, and the others around you if you make a habit of keeping the driving task as JOB ONE, and let someone else do the map reading or change the radio station! It's important to recognize your distractions—and make conscious efforts to minimize or avoid them.

    Keep it between the fence-posts!