Safety Tips Driving safety

Make safe choices on the road

National Safety Month Tip: Week 4

Photo: manley099/iStockphoto

Although you can’t control the actions of other drivers, you can be a defensive driver. The National Safety Council offers tips to help you drive defensively:

  • Pay attention. Avoid distraction when driving. Never use your cell phone behind the wheel – not even hands-free. “Research shows the brain remains distracted for 27 seconds after dialing, changing music or sending a text using voice commands,” NSC states. Pre-set your navigation system and music playlists before driving.
  • Don’t drive impaired. Statistics show that one person dies every 53 minutes in the United States from alcohol-impaired driving. Impairment also can be caused by prescription drugs. If you’re taking prescription medication, check its side effects before driving. Always designate an alcohol- and drug- free driver.
  • Slow down. Speeding – a factor in 28 percent of all traffic deaths in 2014 – reduces how much time you have to react in an emergency situation to avoid a crash. Give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination and adjust your speed as needed for weather conditions.
  • Don’t drive fatigued. Make sure you sleep 7 to 8 hours before getting behind the wheel. Schedule regular rest breaks during long trips to avoid fatigue.
  • Help your teen driver stay safe. Regularly practice driving with your teen to help him or her gain valuable experience on the road. And don’t let your teens drive with their friends in the car: NSC states that a single young passenger can increase a teen driver’s fatal crash risk by 44 percent.

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