Distracted Driving Parents

When you think about “distracted driving”, you’ve been conditioned to think in terms of cell phones and texting.  However, it is time to start seeing this in a much broader scope because of the danger distractions represent to ALL drivers on the road.

To set the stage for a broader thinking approach, consider the following fact:

  • At 55 mph, your vehicle travels 60 feet per second AND
  • Taking your eyes off the road for just 2 seconds means you have traveled 120 feet totally unaware of what is happening around you.

Therefore, with respect to “distractions”, all drivers should consciously consider these questions:

  •  How long does it take you to locate and adjust the heat or a/c controls?
  • How long does it take you to find and remove the French Fry from the fast food bag?
  • How long do you spend finding a new radio station or loading a new CD in the player?
  • How much time do you spend viewing the map on your navigation system?

These are all actual and valid distractions that in most cases require more than 2 seconds to successfully complete.  (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for the image)

There are other distractions that many drivers, like you, don’t even think about which may not take their eyes off the road but certainly takes the focus off driving:

  • How many of you find yourself concentrating on a work related issue and don’t realize the traffic light is changing or people are stopping in front of you?
  • How long do you spend staring at the personalized plate on the car in front of you trying to decipher what it means while ignoring everything else around you?
  • Do you narrow the gap between your car and the one in front to an unsafe distance so you can read their bumper sticker?

These are distractions because your mind (and in some cases your eyes) are being taken off the primary focus required for safe driving and it only takes an instant for everything to go horribly wrong.

I urge you to broaden your definitions of distractions to include anything that is non-urgent, unnecessary or unrelated to the critical task of driving your vehicle safely.

Limiting your definition of a distraction will limit your conscious recognition for the things that can cost you your life.

It’s time for you to think differently about how (and why) you drive.  It’s not just your personal safety at risk here, your views, behaviors and habits are being adopted and copied by your teenagers!

Lead by example and set the standard high.  Please, Please, Please!

Read our Distracted Driving Teenagers Tips next.