Driven to distraction, why do we need another stupid reminder?
Sometimes we all do stupid things, especially when we try to do too many things at once. If one of those things involves 4,000 pounds of metal and glass moving at high velocity, a small lapse in judgment can be catastrophic. April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month and this is Work Zone Awareness Week because when there is road construction and traffic gets worse and time is running out and frustration begins to grow - that is when you need to be extra vigilant.
Here are a few things worth remembering every time you get in a vehicle, because forgetting really can hurt:
- Get the big picture, stay focused and be on the lookout for signs and flaggers
- Be courteous and follow at a safe distance
- Watch your speed
- Allow for sufficient time, don't rush
- Expect the unexpected
- Pull safely off the road if you must talk or text
- Don't read maps, papers, texts, emails, etc. while driving
- Don't use any electronic devices while driving, even "handsfree" devices
- Don’t multitask such as eat, smoke, apply make-up or other grooming activities
Pretty obvious stuff, right? So why do we take on so much unnecessary risk with such foolish behavior?
One answer is complacency. When we do something every day, it is easy to forget the risks involved and start pushing the limits. We don't slow down, we start to rush things, we become distracted, we try to do two or more things at once. Everything seems fine until there is one small change too many. The environment changes and we don't notice, someone else who we assumed was paying attention wasn't, someone sees something we don't and slams on the brakes. Maybe there is plenty of blame to share, but you know you weren't being vigilante. You weren't looking out for yourself and those around you. You had become complacent and distracted. Most of the time, it doesn't matter much when we have such momentary lapses in judgment. But sometimes it really does matter. When we are driving we need to constantly remind ourselves that this is a high risk activity.
Click these links to find out more about Distracted Driving Awareness Month and National Work Zone Awareness Week. Policyholders can find more safe driving resources on the MEMIC online Safety Director.