Defensive Driving - Just Do It! Texting While Driving - Don't Do It!
If I were to tell you that I could tell the future, and that you were going to die from being involved in a vehicle accident, wouldn't you want to do everything you could to remove yourself from that happening? Of course, this is a rhetorical question, and yes you would.
Well, this thought is not too far from reality. I know from tracking trends that this has already occurred and will continue to reoccur until people are more responsible for their own actions while using a phone. But there is good news; you do not have to be involved in that upcoming vehicle accident caused by the distraction of texting or reading a text while driving. That's right; you have absolute control of whether or not you will do such a thing.
Most people have heard the words Defensive Driving, and some people have credited these words with potentially saving their lives by using the principals and standards within a defensive driving course. Such a course is shown to improve the driving behavior of folks behind the wheel, thus improve the safety of our roadways. Many insurance companies offer discounts for those who have taken a defensive driving course. Some states require it. But it only works if drivers continue to use the best practices of driving defensively. Here are a few key thoughts on the matter:
- Maintain a proper speed for the conditions, and never speed
- Maintain adequate space between your vehicle and the one in front of you
- Maintain constant awareness of everything around you
- Anticipate the worst possible thing happening
- Have a way out
- Never add distractions or hazards
I recently read an article in Automotive Fleet Magazine, dated November 30, 2018, titled Texting Increases 30% During Holidays. Although the title of this article doesn't mention driving, the story is about 30% more texting while driving during the holidays, as if people want to take on more risk, and want to chance dying unnecessarily. I know this is most likely not the case, but I also know that most people do realize the risk, yet do it anyway. I can guarantee you that this is not what Nike had in mind when they began using the slogan "Just Do It", and perhaps Nike will have an ad someday about people texting at times when they should be paying more attention to what is going on around them, and start a new phrase..."Don't Do It".
According to data collected and analyzed by smartphone and telematics technology, people are texting while driving 30% more during the winter holidays than during any other weekday otherwise. The good news is that this data was collected between November 18 through January 3 of 2017. This means that we can stop it right now before it happens more this year.
Winter months already bring more natural hazards to the roadway without adding unnecessary risks such as more distractions. Winter driving brings poor driving conditions, heavy snow, ice, fog, "Black Ice", more emotional drivers than during the rest of the year, etc. When a driver adds more distractions to these already existing hazards, it's just a matter of time, and certain things coming together that will cause undue death on the roadway.
I'm sure that everyone wants to get where they're going to enjoy the holidays, spend time with friends and family, and share life in the season of giving. Do your part to make this happen...put the phone down...use voice activated solutions...don't look at it when you are driving. This will enable you to be more aware of other motorists around you and recognize when they are texting while driving, so you can stay away from them. If you see someone who appears to be falling to sleep or drunk...chances are they may be texting. If you are behind such a person, slow down, increase your distance so you have room to make evasive action if needed, and stay alive.
This article is a simple reminder of the need to be more attentive and defensive while driving, and does not replace attending a formal defensive driving course.
Don't let your smart phone be smarter than you...Regarding texting and driving...Don't Do It!