Recently, I told you about growing up in the country. It took half an hour of country roads to get to school every day. There would be times that I would arrive without even realizing I had driven. No passengers, no electronics, no outside distractions. It was just me, the car, the radio and the road.  I was focused but I had driven the route so many times, my brain and body went on auto-pilot. They called it road hypnosis.

That pales in comparison to what happens these days – with distractions throughout the vehicle, from noisy kids to the driver juggling electronics. When we’re driving our kids know our rules – no ruckus that would distract the driver, no blocking the mirrors or windows and if the driver’s phone has a text or alert, one of the kids is responsible for checking it. As a mom, sharing that there are multiple ways that teenagers AND ADULTS can be distracted is extremely important. Discussing ways to avoid the distractions; to stop and focus on the road… Just as important.

Don't be a distracted driver. Stop and focus on the road. - SahmReviews.com #DecideToDrive

Whenever there is a story of an auto incident, I always wonder if it was avoidable and caused by electronics. You know, that’s the difference between a “crash” and an “accident” –  crashes are caused by distracted, intoxicated, speeding or careless drivers. Accidents are…accidents. My parents’ teenage neighbor boy was involved in a traffic incident earlier this year where a car driven by a teenage girl crossed into oncoming traffic in front of him. His truck and the car traveling in the lane next to him both struck her vehicle. It was so bad, his truck was totaled. That was replaceable. Her life was not. When I was told about the accident, my first question was whether she was distracted. Investigators subpoenaed phone records and ruled out electronics. Research also showed speed and road conditions weren’t a factor. They specifically said it was not caused by distracted driving. Not that it makes it any less horrible but the fact that it wasn’t caused by something totally avoidable does make a difference.

Eyes on the road and hands on the wheel. Don't be a distracted driver! - SahmReviews.com #DecideToDrive

Can you imagine how it must feel to be in a profession that constantly sees the result of avoidable injuries and deaths? According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), of the nearly 33,000 roadway fatalities in 2012, there were 3,328 fatalities and approximately 421,000 injuries in distracted driving-related crashes. Orthopaedic surgeons are the ones who put the limbs and bones back together after road crashes and traumas. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the Auto Alliance want to increase awareness about the risks of distracted driving. The focus of the Decide to Drive program is to empower people – drivers and passengers alike – to speak up about distracted driving in an effort to reduce distracted behaviors behind the wheel. “The most advanced safety feature of any vehicle is the driver” but even this sophisticated safety feature only works if the eyes are on the road and the hands are on the wheel.

Injuries and loss of lives can be prevented by eliminating the distractions. Decide to drive.

What is your biggest distraction when driving?

45 thoughts on “Avoid Distractions: Decide to Drive

  1. When I used to drive 1 1/2 hours each way to work –especially on the ride home I would find myself home but not really remembering the trip. Frightening to say the least. There were no distractions in the car except the radio which half the time I never bothered putting on. Thankfully I no longer work at that job. I often wondered if just being tired after a long day of work was the cause of many accidents out there-I would not be surprised.

    1. That’s the same problem I used to have, Michele. Even when I wasn’t tired, I would magically be where I needed to be. It is very scary!

  2. My kiddos are the biggest distraction! They are always fighting and yelling the back seat. I try to bring toys with now to keep them entertained, but on long trips that only goes so far 🙁

    1. I know what you mean, Savannah. We discovered that driving at night is our best bet for long trips. The kids sleep the majority of the way, there are less people on the roads and no sun distractions!

    1. Indeed it is difficult, Kungphoo. As our kids get older, they understand the importance of not distracting us while we’re driving. I hope they remember it when they start driving!

  3. I feel that cell phones should be completely banned from being used while driving. I see young people texting and trying to drive. Makes me want to go take their cell phone from them.

    1. Agreed that phones are a distraction but I’ve seen so many distractions from the other teens in the car. Or pets on laps. Ack. THAT drives me crazy!

  4. I worry about this all the time, and I never drive with my phone out– no exceptions. Just about every time I’ve had a near miss or seen crazy driving I also saw a person with a device in their hand. Frustrating.

    1. I keep mine in the console by me or in the door. But with the built-in Bluetooth in the vehicle, my phone doesn’t give audible alerts and calls go to the overhead speaker. If I’m expecting a text or need to notify someone, I hand the phone to the kids. They love that.

  5. I agree I am often distracted with my girls and just driving the same road again and again. It is easy to be distracted. Great Reminder!

  6. As my kids get older I am starting to worry more about distracted driving. There was recently a young adult in our area killed because he rolled his truck because of distracted driving. So scary.

  7. I am one of those people who zones out while I am driving. I need to pay more attention.

    1. I was that way when we lived in the country, Robin, but not so much now. I think Los Angeles traffic taught me that you can’t zone out. LOL

    1. Yes, Dee. So have I. It isn’t just electronics, either. It’s kids being obnoxious, a pet in their lap and sometimes food. Surprisingly, I don’t see people putting on makeup in their cars much these days.

  8. Phones are not the only distractions – other drivers, music, kids, etc. There is so much traffic here it’s scary! I try to refrain fro texting and try to only do it at red lights.

  9. I have been guilty of using my phone while driving and now that I have a teen on the road I realize how important to not give in to the temptation to pick up the phone and stay focused. I know how important it is to teach her to not be distracted while driving.

  10. What an important message! My husband used to be a truck driver and he would come home all the time with stories about women putting on makeup while they were driving or men reading the paper as they cruised down the highway. Scary!

  11. I know I pay a heck of a lot more attention when my family, especially my son, is with me. This post is so great because we can’t always blame other drivers. We have to first pay attention to ourselves 🙂

  12. Distracted driving is such a problem. We were recently hit by a distracted driver, and our car was damaged. Luckily no one was seriously hurt, but my daughter and I did wind up in the ER. It was even worse because it was so avoidable.

  13. This is an epidemic, absolutely. Just last week a lady was turning around in our crescent, slowly, but we had seven children playing outside. She was looking down the whole time, and as she went by we realized she was texting! So incredibly clueless.

  14. I work in the ER department – vehicle accidents are terrible. I wish everyone that is zipping around on cell phones could spend one day in the ER – I think they would slow down and wait to make a call or text. Good post about spreading the word to Decide to Drive!

  15. My biggest distraction is probably trying to adjust the air temperature. I have issues with my A/C so it’s a nightmare to get it all figured out.

  16. Our teenager just got her license this summer… she’s so green behind the wheel and she feels like she’s invincible.. it’s so scary to know she’s out there on the roads and I worry about her being distracted… I’m thankful she doesn’t text and drive though

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