Your Complete Guide to Making the Road Safer for All Motorists
Every day a person can hear sirens wailing in the distance or see an ambulance careening down the highway in route to an accident. How many of those accidents could be avoided and injuries or even deaths could be prevented if each driver was as attentive to their driving on the road as they would be walking down the street?
Don't Program Your GPS!
Don't Program Your GPS!
Whether a driver is young or old makes no difference in the fact that distraction can kill. Having two eyes on the road, two ears actively listening to sounds and two hands engaged in controlling a metal object weighing hundreds of pounds can increase the ability of a driver to arrive safely at their destination. Many times when we drive out of town and don't know where we are going, we simply think it's fine to glance at our GPS to program it to tell us where to go. It won't take but a second or two, right?
But if we slam into the car in front of us or miss that sharp turn we don't know is upcoming because we are driving in unfamiliar territory and not paying attention, it won't matter what the GPS says as we may never get there. If you were similarly walking in a mall, you wouldn't look at your GPS and never look up to see if you were going to walk into a nearby post or another shopper. You'd stop what you were doing, stand still in front of a directory and figure out where you were and where you wanted to go. Drive like you walk. Carefully and paying attention to what is in front of you or where you want to go.
Cars today have many outstanding new and improved features which allow ease and comfort of driving. One very simple feature, which allows safety, has not changed much over the years however, except for the fact it seems to be used less and less. Turn signals are such a simple, tried and true feature that are courteous and safe way to allow everyone around us to know our intentions. One tiny little flick can be the difference between life and death. Larry Hosler, an Op Ed writer for the "Bakersfield Californian" sums it up well: "I was saddened recently to read about the young man killed on a motorcycle while passing a SUV starting to make a left-hand turn ("Motorcycle crash kills man," March 11). My very first thought: Did the driver of the SUV use a turn signal before starting the turn?" Many times the answer is no. We cannot tell each other what we intend when huddled inside of our cars. And when we make a sudden turn and crash into someone, we can't simply say "oh sorry" like if we bumped into them walking down the street. When the person is killed by our negligence, "sorry" will hold no water. If we are dead along with them in the wreck we caused, then we won't even be able to say that.
Don't Eat While Driving
Everyone has done it. Grab a cheeseburger from the drive through at your favorite fast food restaurant since you are running late and then stuff it down your throat all while driving 65 mph down the freeway. No harm, no foul, right? If you spill a little mustard on your shirt, it will be okay. But what if what gets spilled is more than mustard? What if the burger falls apart mid-bite and you are scrambling to not let it fall on yourself, you look down from the road to try to save the meal, suddenly your hand is off the wheel holding the food, now your eyes are off the road because of it as well and BAM. You just caused an accident. Now imagine that in that accident you killed a child's favorite pet dog who darted into the street and you didn't see it. Or you hit a child on a bike since your car veered suddenly to the side and now that child is in a wheelchair for life? Dramatic, possibly, but absolutely realities that can occur anytime you are not 100% vested in driving that car with all your senses and faculties intact.
Just pull over into the parking lot of the fast food drive through for an extra couple of minutes to wolf down that food and then be on your way. You may never know of the life you saved by doing this, but at least you won't have to live with the memory of the one you took if you don't. Overall, the best advice is always to err on the side of caution when driving. Handling a car is something we all do so often that it is easy to forget how much responsibilities lies in our hands until many times it is just too late.
Author Pam Johnson is a nurse and therefore sees lots of victims of motor vehicle accidents. She urges caution to all motorists. She also enjoys blogging and is a contributing writer for accelerated bsn programs online
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