Some temptations are hard to resist.
An example: the allure of that “ding” on your phone, alerting you to an incoming text or call. When you’re driving, you know you shouldn’t check your phone but, still, the curiosity is driving you crazy! You tell yourself that making an exception — just this once — won’t be a big deal.
However, as much as you’d like to convince yourself otherwise, that one exception could be the most dangerous decision you’ll ever make.
Why do we indulge in behavior we know to be wrong, dangerous and in many states, including Indiana, illegal? Blame it on excessive self-confidence. According to American Automobile Association research, most people feel they are better-than-average drivers. And, we reason, with our busy lives, we are certainly accustomed to multitasking.
But mounds of research and thousands of deaths every year prove otherwise.
August is Back to School Safety Month. As a new school year begins with young drivers and school buses back on the road, I thought it would be a good time to remind folks, including myself, of the dangers of distracted driving.
Using a phone while driving creates enormous potential for injuries and fatalities. Distractions take a motorist’s attention off driving, which can make a driver miss critical events, objects and cues, potentially leading to a crash.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, one of every 10 fatal crashes in the U.S. involves distracted driving, resulting in more than 3,000 deaths annually. This statistic is heartbreaking because so many of these accidents could easily be avoided if we’d simply put down our phones while driving.
Distracted driving is considered any activity that diverts our attention, including texting or talking on the phone, and adjusting the navigation or entertainment system. Texting is by far one of the most dangerous distractions. Sending or reading one text takes your eyes off the road for an average of five seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.
Not only should you ignore your phone while driving, you can help keep the roads safe by moving over for first responders and other emergency vehicles. Additionally, if you see utility crews conducting work near the roadside, move over when possible and give them extra space to perform their work safely.
At Marshall County REMC, safety is foremost in everything we do –– for our employees and the community members we serve. We routinely remind our crews of the dangers of distracted driving, and we hope you’ll have similar conversations with your teens who may be new to the roadways and are especially susceptible to the lure of technology.
Let’s work together to keep everyone safe on the roads. Remember: that text can wait. Waiting just might save a life.