October is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

October 5, 2020

I hate to admit it, but I am guilty of driving while distracted. It’s not by texting or daydreaming, but by my big black lab in the seat beside me. She sometimes needs a little attention while I’m driving – and that takes my focus off the road.

It’s easy to be distracted these days. The number of distracted drivers is on the rise – and from coast to coast, is negatively impacting the number of accidents on the road. In fact, stats from the National Safety Council show that a lack of attention behind the wheel accounts for more than 700 injury crashes on a typical day in the U.S.

As a Company that has well over half of our employee population on the road all day, every day, distracted driving is a relevant concern. We diligently work to educate our employees on road safety to ensure they get home safely each night.

But it’s not just our drivers who need to be attentive on the road; it’s every employee. That’s why we’re putting a focus on Distracted Driving Awareness Month, with tips and strategies to make our roads and our people safer.

Please watch this video to learn how you can play a role in Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

Distracted Driving Behaviors

So, what are distracted driving behaviors? There are the obvious things, like fatigue and talking to the passenger, but there are other factors you may not think enough about:

Competition for Visual Processing
Taking your eyes off the road to read a text, looking to see the name of the song on the radio, or checking on your child in the backseat (or dog in the front seat!) are all behaviors that force your eyes away from the road. Unfortunately, people do these things all the time without much thought, but it just takes a second of distraction for an accident to occur. When something or someone is vying for your attention, you can’t always focus on the road and what’s going on around you.

Manual Interference
Perhaps your eyes are still on the road, but you take one hand off the wheel to adjust the radio, re-route your GPS or search for the piece of candy you dropped between the seats. Although your eyes are still on the road, if you need to stop suddenly or change lanes, you have far less control over your vehicle when just one hand is on the wheel.

Eyes on the road, hands on the wheel – these are characteristics of a driver paying attention. But an important factor that’s missing is mental alertness. With endless lists of to-dos, worries about life’s pressures, and thoughts about plans for tomorrow, it’s easy to let your mind drift behind the wheel. If you’re not alert on the road, it’s easy to miss the car swerving in front of you or the pedestrian crossing the street.

The next time you’re behind the wheel, remember these tips to stay safe:

  • Keep your cell phone out of reach. Even with good intentions, the urge to check messages is hard to avoid.
  • Keep a safe following distance from the vehicle in front of you. Distracted drivers often make erratic maneuvers and distance allows you to avoid accidents.
  • Don’t be the first car to enter an intersection and be sure to pause two seconds before proceeding when a light turns green. Distracted drivers often run red lights and your slight delay in entering intersections could help you avoid an accident.

“Making safe decisions and driving safely is everyone’s responsibility, whether at work or with your family,” said Jim O., Vice President, Safety. “Please, don’t use your phone or text while driving. Your family, friends and loved ones need you to return home safely.”

Prizes! Just Drive Pledge Week, October 19 – 23

Stay tuned to learn more about how you can take the pledge to drive distraction-free – and win prizes. Watch for more information right here on Blue Nation Online and join us as we commit to Just Drive!