April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

I have blogged a lot on distracted driving.  I still don’t think people realize how many tragic accidents occur because of distracted driving.  I do because of my profession and because of my frequent reading of the news as I choose what to blog about on our website.  Hence, I thought it was important to point out that April was distracted driving month here in Florida.  . On March 28-30, Florida Highway Patrol hosted the œStaying Alive on I-75 campaign that focused on distracted driving.  What was wonderful about that?  No fatalities occurred on this long stretch of highway during the weekend.
The campaign ran through six states, including Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Michigan, Ohio and Kentucky.  In 2013, nearly 39,000 crashes in Florida were a result of distracted driving. Of these crashes, 33,000 involved injuries and 201 fatalities were reported, according to a press release from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
What does distracted driving include?  It is texting, using a cell phone, eating and drinking, and talking to passengers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.Texting is the most common distracted driving behavior.  Texting limits all of your abilities to drive proactively and defensively because It limits your manual attention, physically taking your hands off of the wheel; your visual attention, taking your eyes of the road; and cognitive attention, [thinking] about what text you’re going to send.  This is the first ever national campaign on distracted driving.
The Florida Highway Patrol has great tips for cell phone use for drivers  Remember,  you can easily get a ticket in Florida if you become a distracted driver and break road rules, or worse, cause an accident.
Cell Phone Tips…To Call or Not to Call?
If talking on your cell phone is going to distract you, don’t use it while driving. If you are behind the wheel and you get a call, just let it ring! If the caller wants to talk to you, he will leave a message. If you suddenly need to make a call, pull over and stop your car as soon as you can.

Keep Your Eyes on the Road

If you are expecting calls or know that you will be placing calls while you are behind the wheel, make preparations. Don’t take notes or look up numbers while driving. Again, keep your eyes on the road. Use speed dial or keep all numbers handy. If at all possible, install a  Cell Phone Hands Free Car Kitt to avoid having to take your hands off the wheel.

Limit Conversation.

Drivers who engage in lengthy or involved conversations are just asking for trouble. It is very hard to concentrate on driving while you are trying to make vacation plans or comfort a friend in the hospital. You should not engage in stressful or emotional conversations that may distract you from your primary task – driving your car!

Use Common Sense

Know when it is safe to talk on your cell phone. You should not talk on the cell phone during hazardous driving conditions. If road conditions are not safe, traffic is heavy, or weather is severe, don’t use your cell phone — it is simply not worth risking a crash¦or your life!
If you must use your cell phone while driving — DO keep these things in mind.
DO…Get to know your phone and its features.
DO…Use a hands-free device if possible.
DO…Make sure your phone is in easy reach.
DO…Reserve phone usage for emergencies or important calls.

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