Stop distracting me
It happens every day we drive; distractions. We tend to be our own worse enemy. We’re curious by nature, but when does that curiosity turn into danger? Distracting ourselves has been going on since time began. It’s always a difficult task to stay focused on one thing when something else that may be more interesting comes our way.
The police are on the lookout for distracted drivers these days and almost anything goes when it comes to laying charges. Police will and have charged drivers who have talked and texted with cell phones, ate while driving, drank and spilled their beverage while driving, and so many other things. But when is the line being crossed for charges? Can the line be crossed?
All vehicles have cup holders, so is that a temptation for a distraction or is it a convenience? The CD player can be a distraction, so is that a trick to be caught and charged by the police as well? Not necessarily. There’s a time and place to drink your water or coffee, eat a snack and to change your music. While in heavy traffic isn’t the proper time to be distracted with reaching for things. You need your attention to be on the driving task, not on your donut.
There are different types of distractions. Any distraction that takes your thoughts away from the driving task has to be considered a dangerous distraction. A quick glance to change a pre-programmed radio station doesn’t change your thoughts of concentration. However, having to look and wipe away the jelly from the jelly donut does take some thought. Reading the song titles on your CD also takes some thought.
What do passengers mean to being distracted? They too can distract you with their actions and conversation, but if you’re having a heated conversation with your passenger, should you be charged with distracted driving? It would be difficult to make a charge like that stick. However, it’s up to you, the driver, to ensure you and your passengers avoid the distracting type of conversations. As a driver, you’ll need to set up rules for you and your passengers. If they start to distract you through conversation, change the conversation. You need your thoughts to be on driving, not who’ll win the World Series.
So, what types of distractions will carry a ticket from the police? Obviously, using any hand held device such as a cell phone or mp3 will carry a stiff penalty. If your distraction caused a dangerous driving action, chances are you’ll be changed with careless driving.
Prepare yourself to stay focused while driving. Remove or secure loose items that may take your attention away from driving. Pre-program your music for the longer drives. Wait until you’ve stopped before sipping your coffee. It doesn’t take concentration to sip, but if you dribble on yourself, you’ll look away from the road and traffic. If you’re buying food in the drive-thru, take it to a place to eat instead of eating it on the way to the place. Spilling that “secret sauce” will cause you to look away from the driving task to clean up the mess on your shirt.
Have a plan to avoid the distractions you may do to yourselves. After all, you are your own worse enemy when it comes to distractions.