June 26, 2014

Avoid Distracted Driving!

Driving is a necessity but it can also be very dangerous. Since I was 16, I have been driving long distances for different reasons. I moved across the state from my family at 17 to go to college and would drive home often, jobs, trips, etc. Driving feels second nature to me now but sometimes, it can be quite scary.

When I was 18, I was in a car accident. It was on the expressway and there were two cars at a complete dead stop. It was on a curve and I could not see until it was too late that they were stopped. I hit the cars going ~40 miles per hour. Everyone was okay but my family's car was not. The car was totaled. I was by myself and was very shaken up. Luckily, my parents came to pick me up and the police officer was very nice and told me that it was not my fault. 

I was paying attention when I was driving but many times, people are very distracted while driving. This experience did make me scared to drive for some time and made me a more cautious driver. When you hear your phone ding, it is so tempting to read a text and even text back. This is very dangerous though! I have a 30-40 minute commute to work and have seen people doing some wild things while driving: bending over searching for something on the ground, putting on mascara, painting their nails, etc. This is very dangerous and can result in an accident. 

In fact according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, of the almost 33,000 driving fatalities in 2012, 3,328 of them were related to distracted driving. Another 421,000 injuries occurred in 2012 due to distracted driving. 
Here are some tips for safe driving: 
-Keep your hands on the wheel at all times.
-Keep phone calls to a minimum so that you are paying attention during the drive.
-DO NOT text and drive!
-Limit eating and drinking while driving.
-Keep your eyes on the road. Not on your phone, other passengers, GPS, purse, etc.

There is a program called the Decide to Drive program which aims to empower drivers and passengers to speak up about distracted driving and continue their conversation at another time to reduce being distracted at the wheel. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons want to help drivers decide to drive and keep their bones and limbs intact. The Auto Alliance urges drivers to keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel at all times.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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