By Jessica Rapp | Carson City Health and Human Services
This column appears in the Nevada Appeal Wednesday health pages. It addresses topics related to the health of our community.
It is Monday morning; you get in the car and start your drive to work. Your goal is to drive safe, but within minutes of starting the car you have taken a sip of your coffee, turned on your favorite radio station, sent a text message to your friend, and searched for your sunglasses. You might not realize it, but you are a distracted driver.
Each day, at least nine Americans die and 100 are injured in distracted driving crashes. The Governor’s Highway Safety Association estimates that at least 25% of all vehicles accidents are related to distractions. April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. This month brings attention to the dangers of distracted driving and encourages individuals to play an active role in keeping the roads safe by making a commitment to themselves and their loved ones to remove distractions.
Distracted driving is any activity that takes your attention away from driving. This includes using your phone, eating, drinking, talking to people in your car, and messing with your entertainment or navigation system. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes three main types of distractions while driving.
- Visual distractions take your eyes off the road
- Manual distractions cause you to take your hands off the steering wheel
- Mental distractions take your mind off of driving
Research shows that taking your eyes off the road for about 5 seconds driving at 55 miles per hour is like driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed. Each time you take your focus off the road, you are putting your life, and the lives of others, in danger.
Some distractions cannot be removed, but they can be managed. Turning your cell phone off or silencing it before starting the engine, securing pets properly, setting your radio before leaving the drive way, and not eating or drinking behind the wheel are all ways to manage or remove distractions. Ignore the distraction and just drive to keep us all safe on the roads!
Carson City Health and Human Services encourages everyone to take an active role in keeping our roads safe. Take the pledge to just drive by visiting https://safety.nsc.org/ddam-pledge to sign the pledge. For additional resources and information about our Department programs and services, check out our website at www.gethealthycarsoncity.org, “Like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cchhs, follow us on Twitter @CCHealthEd, call us at (775) 887-2190, or visit us at 900 East Long Street in Carson City.