Mar 5, 2015

Distracted Driving

We have had a terrible winter on the roads in Alberta this year.
Distracted driving, inexperience, impairment, impatience and a lack of indicators are all in part to blame.
The resulting loss of life is no ones gain.

The winter snow, ice, sleet and frigid temperatures most certainly play a part in helping to hinder our experience behind the wheel out there but the absence of common sense is even a bigger deal...breaker.
What the heck are we doing behind the wheel out there?

Beware. We are weaving in and out of traffic on our journey to survive
while engaged in everything but the practice of drive.

With a meal in one hand and a cell phone in the other
we steer on with our knees and the hopes of avoiding each other.

We floss our teeth and dress ourselves while tuning tunes and drinking java.
Indicators are obviously optional to some whom are too busy to see
 but know where they are going anyways!?

On the highway to avoiding our own avoidable death, we seem to enjoy tempting our fate.

We talk, we message and we post things too without the worry of what we would do
 if suddenly we had to react to the car next to us and what they did or did not do.

In an effort to pass one another on the highway to our lives
we continue to sacrifice one another in the name of saving time.
Isn't it time we practice what we preach? 

5 routes to the path of safety.


 #1. Pay attention

GET OFF the phone, get your head out of the clouds and engage yourself in the act of driving.
The most important part of the process of driving is to see and be seen.
And speaking of looking- our children are watching our every move.
Their safety does not sit in a seat belt alone.

That which you show your children will come back to haunt you on the very day
that your new driver finally drives away, alone in your car.
The time you spend awaiting their safe return will haunt you with the memories of what they saw and learned.

Did you tell them not to text when they drive but on more than one occasion show them otherwise?
Did you teach them to turn on their lights so they may see and be seen when they drive, day or night?
Did you teach them of the responsible they have to their riders and their right to arrive alive?
Did you remind them to pay attention to the road when they drive? 

Distraction is detrimental to our health.
Change the path you are on by steering in the right direction.

#2 Slow down.
 Signal and get into the right lane. Enjoy the ride.
After all how many times have you caught up to the car that sped past you a couple miles back at the
set of lights? What is the hurry anyway?
Slow and steady does win this race as long as you are paying attention.
The fast paced world of high speed information and super speed highways have helped to lead us
down the wrong road. The joy in the adventure of getting there, being half the fun, has become a journey
of terror for some. I hope that there are others out there paying attention who also feel the same.
How can you see where you're going while your playing that game?

#3.Drive defensively

  Look out for yourself. Literally. Did you look? Did you see?
Assumptions  and second hand information can be dangerous.
Although vehicles do come equipped with signal lights intended to be used as indicators of intention, 
the indicator light does not always indicate the other drivers intent. Exercise caution before proceeding.

Be aware of whats in front of you, behind you and beside you, before you need to know. 
What if... is what you have to know.
Be aware of how aware those around you are. 
Do they know their signal light is on, do they see yours? 

Keep your eyes on the road and your hands upon the wheel.
Driving is a  responsibility, it's a really big deal.

 #4. Apply common sense and courtesy

Common sense should dictate that applying your signal light in the turn is doing so just a little late.
The indicators on cars are not reminders to self that we are turning, they are meant to be used
as a sign of ones indication to everybody else.
Now if only everyone else would apply themselves.
Applied common sense should also make clear that vision can be impared by a dirty windshield.
I have passed vehicles on the road  that have more snow on them than there is snow on the road.
The little peep hole that the defrost had exposed in the windshield  before they set out
is frosted over every time they breath. Geez Louise...I don't see. What's the hurry?
A brush off and 5 more minutes in the driveway would make it a safer trip for everybody.

Use your heads lights. Clean them. Inspect them.
Headlights improve the odds of being seen by other vehicles on the road
as sure headlights help in the process of seeing the road.
 Fog, snow, sleet, rain, ice, sunlight, dust, dusk, dawn and darkness are all common sense situations
 that give great justification to the application of headlights.

Buckle up. It's the Law. What's holding you back?

Courtesy should be applied where ever you would expect the same.
Pay it forward, let them in.
A feel good moment is what you win. What have you got to lose? A couple of minutes or maybe two.

The next time you have to follow a senior citizen down a single lane highway, think first of your parent or your grandparents on their way before you pass the vehicle and before you holler and say...things you probably wouldn't say to the elders in your own family.

Consider those around you. It's your job as a driver to do.
The courtesy is optional but nice when we do.
We can lengthen  lives by enjoying the ride.
Slow down a bit so you've time to smile.

Distracted driving

#5 Know the rules of the road. 
Your life may depend upon it.
What is the proper protocol when passing emergency vehicles on the road?
Can you turn left on a red light? 
Who has the right of way at a corner? 
What is the speed of travel in un-posted residential areas?
What is the speed limit in a school ground? In a play ground? 
When is it necessary to do a shoulder check?

Slow down. Take the road less travelled. 
You may only pass this way but once.

Don't be a distracted driver dying to get there.
 Get off the phone and drive. 
You can talk face to face when you arrive alive.

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