Drivers If You Knew the Odds Against You, Then You’d Take Greater Care Behind the Wheel
Over and over I’ve been astounded at the dangers I must face simply driving through the parking lot of my local food market. I’ve questioned if tests for driving should include questions to determine common sense, because there are a lot of drivers simply lacking it. You don’t have to take my word for it though, because a quick scan of the news will in a week’s time reveal a completely crazy scenario that some driver intentionally put themselves in to the detriment of everyone else on the road with them.
It’s astonishing to consider people have taken on the risks of eating cereal, shaving, reading a book, or having sex while driving. Those are all actual things drivers have done before a crash according to a comprehensive report on distracted driving. Yet, one of the most dangerous things people do is give attention to their smartphone. Texting, checking social media, taking driving selfies, and searching the Internet are simply stupid things to do while operating a car.
Texting while driving kills. Period. How many heartbreaking true stories do people have to see on public service commercials where a simple text caused someone to kill themselves or others before they get it? Don’t text and drive. Don’t mess with your smartphone while driving.
According to researchers, depending on how fast you are traveling, you can consider that in the matter of a second or more you have been going down the road as if you were blindfolded when you give your attention to your phone screen, your GPS, the conversation in the backseat, and other kinds of distractions. If you are at a speed limit of most highways, simply checking a text could equate to your driving the distance of a football field with a blindfold on.
I don’t want to be passing by you on the road, or be behind or in front of you and your multi-ton car while you decide to operate it basically blindfolded. I don’t want my friends or family on the road with you either. Please don’t drive distracted. Ever.
Car accidents are the leading cause of death for those aged 5 to 24 and the second leading cause of death for everyone above the age of 24. That is a horrifying statistic. Consider this, in the demographic age group of 15 to 24 year olds, for every 100 auto fatalities, there are 78 suicides, 63 homicides, and 53 drug ODs.
Resent research for the Second Strategic Highway Research Program Naturalistic Driving Study conducted by Virginia Tech concluded that in nine of 10 crashes they studied over the course of two years the causes were fatigue, error, impairment, and distracted driving. Distracted driving accounted for the majority of the accidents.
Anything that takes your concentration and alertness away from the activity of driving is a distraction that could lead to an accident.
It could be simply reaching for something to drink, using your Bluetooth system to talk on the phone, attending to the needs of a child in the backseat, or getting involved in a conversation.
The younger and less experienced the driver is on the road, the less familiar the driver is with the car or road itself, then the greater the odds of an accident. For those under 24, the odds of having a crash multiply exponentially with each peer age passenger in the car.
Emotional drivers that are crying, angry, or otherwise upset are up to 10 times more likely to cause a crash.
Parents should be aware of what they are showing their teens and younger children what is acceptable to do while driving. Children mimic their parent’s behavior behind the wheel. Drive safe and you will have greater peace of mind when they are behind the wheel and you are at home waiting for them to arrive safely.
If you are upset, don’t drive.
If you are hungry, pull over and eat, don’t eat and drive.
If you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, don’t drive.
If you are tired, don’t drive.
If you need to connect to someone for business, do it when you aren’t driving.
If you have a toddler in the backseat that needs your attention, if your best friend is calling, if your child just texted you, if there is something you need from the glove compartment, or if you want to change your playlist, then pull over, don’t drive.
If you are a passenger in a car and the driver is showing unsafe behavior, then speak up and tell the driver you are uncomfortable. Being rude to someone putting your life and others at risk is better than dying.
Driving safely requires your full attention. So much could change in a mere moment. If an accident is your fault, the consequences could be death, a serious life changing injury, or a lifetime of guilt because your thoughtless act changed the lives of others.
Please take the responsibility of driving seriously. Car crashes should not be the number one killer of our young people, nor should older adults be facing close to the same odds of dying on the road. It’s up to you and me to make the roads safer and set a good example to make a difference. Make it happen.
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