I have plenty of gripes when talking about distracted drivers; it never seems to get better. No matter if it’s city streets or highway’s, I just can’t get over the fact of vehicles speeding through construction zones, as they race through nearly 15 miles over the speed limit while men are working in these areas. Do these drivers ‘Not’ think about the hitting something or someone? (Possibly taking a life); Also, plenty of people that abide by speed limits in these zones are also distracted by other things… such as cell phones, eating food, or putting on makeup… just to name a few. More and more, drivers apparently have many things they do behind the wheel of an automobile. All of these things are distractions, and it leaves the driver in a blank state of mind, as they are not paying close attention to the road what-so-ever.
Recently in Car and Driver magazine, tests found people that were texting while behind the wheel of the car was equivalent to slamming a few beers before driving. The National Transportation Safety Board is looking to ban cell phone usage completely, as well as hands free devices. Of course there is controversy with the hands free devices, as the head of Dept. of Transportation states the number one problem is ‘Distracted’ driving. Distractions are a couple of things, first and foremost is when you take your eyes off the road while moving, there is no good outcome for this. Second is when you take your hands off the wheel, as some do while they are eating or using their hands for something else besides driving. At times you might see people using their knees for steering while their hands are unavailable. Last there is cognitive driving; this is where your mind is engaged in something other than driving. An example would be, say you just received bad news from a medical appointment, or you had an argument with a loved one, needless to say you’re most likely upset … and now you get behind the wheel of a car. This is cognitive driving, as you believe you are physically fine, but your mind is somewhere else. This is the number one cause of distraction fatalities on the roads today.
Other distractions are people eating while driving, and I see it every day. They come out of a fast food drive thru and start rustling through their bags while they continue to drive off. Their attention is not on the roadway as it should be. Then there is music controls, so many are fussing with iPods, CD changers and other devices it’s difficult to watch traffic at the same time. But one that irritates me to no end is the ‘LookyLoos.’ These drivers need to seriously pull over! There are accidents that cause other accidents, because everyone wants to see what is happening. In many places there will be chain reactions when this occurs, and it’s simply terrible. Also, on the Las Vegas strip you get out-of-towners that might rent a vehicle (unfamiliar with the area), and are looking around while driving, this creates angry drivers everywhere, as it is hard enough to get down the strip on a weekend, and now you are dealing with the ‘LookyLoos.’
A few mentionable distractions are, applying make-up; taking photos while driving, texting, tweeting, and engaged in conversation on the phone. The last one is seen often, as I can be on the highway and someone ahead is swaying or not doing the speed limit, all because they are totally engaged in a conversation, with their ear tight to the phone…. Oblivious as to what is going on around them. Irritating? I say it is. If we could just take driving more seriously and have patience throughout our days, it might save a life, or prevent an accident. Maybe next time you go to a drive-thru for food, you can wait until you arrive home before pulling out your meal. It’s a simple thing to do, and a good driving practice for all. Let’s stay alert and keep our roads safe.
Make you week count.