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Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Distracted Driving and You

Distracted driving has become a hot topic in Canada. Thanks to the tireless work of advocates and journalists, it has become public knowledge that distracted driving ranks as one of the most pressing public safety issues in the country along with impaired driving.

According to the United States Department of Transportation, in 2009 some 20% of injury crashes involved distracted driving. That amounts to more than 5,000 people killed and 450,000 injured in crashes that were the result of distracted driving.

To help combat distracted driving, the Alberta government has passed legislation that institutes fines for those who do not focus on the road. Those who are caught doing their hair or talking on their cell phones while driving could be fined upwards of $172. To help you avoid these fines, we've put together a list of the major distracted driving offenses to help you know what you should avoid while driving.
  • Talking and texting. One of the most dangerous things you can do on the road is to talk or text and drive. Your attention is diverted away from the road and your reaction time slows. If something happens on the road ahead of you, you may not be able to react in time. Putting your cell phone in the trunk is one trick that may stop you from talking or texting while driving. 
  • Grooming. Believe it or not, there are some people who do serious makeup and hair work while driving. Checking your hair to make sure it looks okay is one thing, but to apply makeup is an incredibly dangerous action. Budget your time more effectively and do your grooming before leaving the house! (Or, at the very least, do your hair while parked in your driveway.) 
  • Fiddling with knobs. While it is important to have the right music going when you drive, it's not a good idea to be fiddling with your stereo while you drive. Set a playlist before heading out the door and leave it going while you drive. Putting your head down for one moment to change songs may not seem like much, but if the driver ahead of you were to stop abruptly you may be in trouble. 
  • Eating and drinking. In the morning it is often difficult to budget time effectively. With so many things to do, you sometimes find yourself grabbing a few things from the kitchen and eating in the car while you drive to work. You should try to avoid this. Unless the food and drink are easy to consume, you may find yourself in a collision because you weren't paying attention! 
While the list certainly goes on, these are a few of the major bad habits that could land you an expensive distracted driving ticket. Remember that you are not alone on the road; you share the space with other people and it is incumbent upon you to treat that fact with respect. When you and your family are on the road, you would hope and expect that other drivers would be driving as safely as possible. Be an example to others -- not least your children -- and focus on the road while driving. 

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