With all the news coverage surrounding North Dakota’s increase in traffic crashes and fatalities, it’s the perfect time to remind ourselves to “Be street smart!” North Dakota’s traffic fatalities rose from 148 in 2011 to 170 in 2012. Although it’s difficult to know how many of these fatalities can be attributed to distractions, we know drivers are four times more likely to crash if using a cell phone while driving.
We know your business is important, but safety should always come first.
The North Dakota Safety Council offers some useful tips to help make you street smart:
- The activity in the area of the brain that processes moving visual images decreases by 1/3 when listening to a phone conversation.
- Your brain can miss seeing up to 50% of your driving environment when you are talking on a cell phone while driving.
- Drivers talking on cell phones have slower reaction times than drivers with a .08 alcohol content.
- Drivers using a cell phone behind the wheel are four times more likely to crash.
- Hands-free or hand-held, your brain doesn’t know the difference*.
Stay focused behind the wheel:
- Pull over to use your cell phone, or let calls go to voicemail.
- Change your voicemail greeting to indicate you don’t take calls while you are driving.
- If you have passengers in the vehicle, assign a ‘designated texter’ to send and reply to messages for you.
- Eliminate the temptation of answering your phone by turning it to silent and placing it out of reach.
- Make driving your priority: perform other tasks before you get on the road.
- Take control of your vehicle. Explain the importance of keeping your focus on the road, to all passengers.
- And ALWAYS wear your seatbelt.
Make today the day you stop using your cell phone while driving, and pledge to never drive distracted. For more safe driving tips, contact the North Dakota Safety Council at www.ndsc.org.
*Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
By Lynae Hanson, NDSC Assistant Executive Director/Operations www.ndsc.org