Any task a driver performs while driving is a potential distraction that can cause unsafe conditions for all drivers on the road.
One day while driving, I needed information on some paperwork that was in the back seat of my car. I thought I could quickly reach in the back and grab the paper I needed, so with one hand on the steering wheel, I turned and reached for the paper. I took my eyes of the road for just one second to look where I was grabbing and picked up the paper that I needed. When I turned back around my car was now traveling on the wrong side of the road and heading straight for a woman who was riding her bicycle. I swerved just in time and missed the woman, corrected the car and got back on my side of the road. All was fine and I drove a short ways down the road and then pulled over to gain my composure. I felt terrible and sick to my stomach for scaring that poor woman and had thoughts of how close I had come to a potential catastrophic event.
So much could have happened if I had run over and killed that woman. I would have not only destroyed an innocent life but also changed the lives of two families. I would have more than likely charged with vehicular manslaughter and gone to prison.
I share this experience with you to show how easy it is for anyone to be distracted.
The truth of this story is that I was on duty that day and driving in my Police car. I thought it would be ok to reach backwards because I am a professionally trained driver and besides it would only take one second to reach back, but that one second, nearly altered the future for countless other people, and me.
Today when I drive, whether in my Police car or personal car, I am fully focused and not distracted due to a life-changing lesson that I will never forget.
Never reach into the backseat. Pull over or wait until your car in not in motion.
As you, reach backwards with your right hand, your left hand remains on the steering wheel. As you turn, to reach back you left hand will drop and turn the steering wheel to the left causing your car to drive left into oncoming traffic or off the road.
Cell phones and texting now considered the new drunk driving, is a major distraction. Pull over and stop id you need to use your cell phone.
Drivers who use their cell phones are completely unfocussed and should remember that it only takes one second for something to happen.
Personal distractions such asfatigue, daydreaming, applying make-up, or reading, impaired by drugs, alcohol, and any other personal distraction can take away your attention from driving safely.
Distractions on the inside of the car can keep a driver preoccupied such as other passengers, the radio being too loud or a pet.
Distractions on the outside like the weather, people walking by, other motorists and advertisements.
When we allow any one of these distractions to affect our ability to drive safely, the consequences can be dangerous and even deadly.
When I was growing up my two brothers and I would sit in the back seat, and like most young boys, we would roughhouse, be loud and make my mother nuts, as she drove. She was the only person that I ever knew who could drive safely but be able to reach back with a belt, hanger or anything she could get her hands on to use to smack all three of us to make my brothers and I stop acting up. I love you mom.
Seriously, let us all take driving while distracted seriously and focus so we will always arrive safely to our destinations.
Article also posted on Triond by Scott Hallock