Editorial: Avoid driver distractionsArea drivers who’ve texted while driving might feel like they’re being picked on because of a Wisconsin ban on that activity.
Area drivers who’ve texted while driving might feel like they’re being picked on because of a Wisconsin ban on that activity.
They shouldn’t, as the ban is meant to be for their own safety and the safety of others on roads throughout the state. Moreover, the Badger state is just one of 30 of the 50 nationwide to have taken such action.
Driver distractions of any kind need to be addressed. Statistics from the Wisconsin Insurance Alliance show inattentive driving plays a part in one out of every four vehicle crashes. That’s more than 1.5 million collisions a year and 4,300 crashes daily, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Text messaging is joined by cell phone calls, changing radio stations, even turning around to talk to passengers on the list of in-vehicle pursuits that can prove deadly. Drivers are also distracted by using PDAs, laptops and navigational aids while driving. Some create a potential hazard due to eating, drinking, reading, writing or grooming themselves when their full attention should be on the road in front of them.
The following safety tips are recommended when driving:
—Don’t drive while calling or texting; pull off the road to a safe location.
—Program frequently called numbers and personal emergency numbers into the speed dial feature of a phone for easy, one-touch dialing. When available, use auto answer or voice-activated dialing.
—If dialing manually is a must, do so only when stopped. Pull off the road or, better yet, have a passenger do the dialing.
—Let voice mail pick up the calls in tricky driving situations. It’s easy—and safer—to retrieve messages later on.
—Keep conversations on the phone and in the car brief so as to concentrate on driving. If a long discussion is required, if the topic is stressful or emotional, or if driving becomes hazardous, end the conversation and continue it once off the road.
—Make sure the phone is securely in its holster when not being used so it doesn’t pop out and distract the driver while driving.
—If needing to write something down, use a tape recorder or pull off the road.
—Spills, both hot and cold, can easily cause an accident. If having to stop short, someone could be severely burned.
—Shaving, putting on makeup, combing hair or other forms of preening are distractions and should be done at home, not while driving.
A vehicle isn’t a living room, office or kitchen. People can get so absorbed in their conversations or other activities their ability to concentrate on the task at hand gets significantly impaired, jeopardizing the safety of vehicle occupants and pedestrians.
Operating a vehicle is serious business, so when it’s being done, the operator’s full focus must be on that, not divided with other interests.