While not illegal in every province, distracted driving is of sufficient concern that the RCMP has designated February as Distracted Driving Awareness Month. And, they are cracking down on a multitude of distracting behaviour behind the wheel.
Multi-tasking is a skill highly valued in today’s workforce and is essential to running most households. However, multi-tasking has become common place for drivers behind the wheel. Even without the added distractions of electronic & music devices, personal grooming, eating and travelling with an unpredictable pet on your lap; driving demands your full attention.
Just simply driving requires operators to continually: adjust to weather and road conditions; shoulder check before changing lanes or turning; monitor rear view and side mirrors to be aware of traffic; constantly check traffic and pedestrian activity from all angles; manage & react to other drivers’ behaviour; watch for lights changing and stop/yield signs; and, be prepared to react to unexpected road hazards.
Some tips to avoid extra distractions behind the wheel are:
- Know your route before you leave and don’t try and map read while on the go
- Use your GPS properly to map your route and do not adjust while driving
- Be sure you’re familiar with your vehicle
- Resist the temptation to locate dropped items while driving
- Create a playlist on your CD or music device and stick to it
- Be aware of your emotional state and if necessary take time to calm down before driving
- Pull over to address excessive distractions within the vehicle, e.g. children, pets or other passengers
- Secure your pet safely in a cage/carrier or with a pet seatbelt
Know your route before you leave and don’t try and map read while on the goUse your GPS properly to map your route and do not adjust while drivingBe sure you’re familiar with your vehicleResist the temptation to locate dropped items while drivingCreate a playlist on your CD or music device and stick to itBe aware of your emotional state and if necessary take time to calm down before drivingPull over to address excessive distractions within the vehicle, e.g. children, pets or other passengersSecure your pet safely in a cage or with a pet seatbelt
While multi-tasking in the home and office is often essential, behind the wheel it can prove to be deadly. It takes just a moment’s distraction or a vehicle drifting a few feet to the left or right to create tragic consequences. Ask yourself if it’s worth your life or someone else’s before engaging in the following activities:
- drinking (non-alcoholic beverages)
- applying make-up
- using cell phone to make or receive a call
- radio or electronic device adjustments
- dressing or undressing
- amorous encounters