Are You Distracted While Driving in Bay County?

Many of us spend a tremendous amount of time in our cars these days. In Bay County alone, there are more than 140,000 licensed drivers on the road ranging in ages from 15 to 90+. The increased flow of traffic on Highway 77 in Lynn Haven has been the focus of a recent news story to find a solution hoping to decrease the number of fatalities in this area. Our desire to get back and forth to work, make that appointment on time, or run the barrage of errands we need to accomplish on lunch breaks often lead to multi-tasking while driving. This can put not only you but also the drivers around you in a very dangerous situation.

Texting, making phone calls, or eating your lunch while driving take your focus from the roadway to whatever task it is you are doing. A 2008 study done by the Florida Dept of Highway Safety on distracted drivers determined that drivers were 4 times more likely to be involved in an accident when they were multi-tasking while driving.

The number of cell phone users has increased over the years in record numbers. In fact, many families have actually eliminated their home "landline" in exchange for each family member having their own cell phone. The need to be connected at all times has resulted in an increased number of drivers diverting their attention from simply driving their car to operating a mini-office in their vehicle.

To reduce your risk of getting into an accident as a result of road distractions, avoid the most common tasks that have statistically resulted in an accident.

  • Always wear your seat belt. First of all, it's the law and, secondly, it could save your life by reducing your chances of being ejected from your vehicle in the event of an accident.
  • Give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination. If you are rushing, you are more likely to speed or tailgate and may be less attentive to the traffic activity.
  • Make all efforts to not use your cell phone while you are driving. If you must, use a hands-free device, keep your eyes on the road, and make it brief. Under no circumstances should you text and drive.
  • Avoid eating and drinking while driving--take a few minutes to pull off the road to eat your lunch.
  • Make sure your child is in safety restraints such as a car seat or seatbelt as appropriate for their age and size. DO NOT allow them to move about the car while it is in motion.
  • Avoid reaching for items in your car, such as adjusting the radio or an item from the rear seat. The moment you look away from the road could be the moment the car in front of you slows down or stops. Keep a safe distance while in motion to allow you to react should the driver ahead stop abruptly.
Parents should talk with their teen drivers about safety and should enroll them in a driver safety course. Not only will it educate the teen driver, but it will also result in a discount on your car insurance. Parents should also lead by example. If your driving habits include risks, your teen driver will likely repeat them as well.
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