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Steer clear from the dangers of distracted drivers

Apr. 08, 2013 @ 01:39 PM

It's estimated that nearly 25 percent of all roadway crashes are caused by drivers using their cell phones to make calls or text. According to the National Safety Council that's about 1.1 million car accidents a year. Of course, there are plenty of other ways drivers are cognitively distracted including eating and drinking, talking to passengers, tending to infants, grooming, using a navigation system or adjusting audio devices. When it comes to cell phone distracted driving, the Council estimates drivers using cell phones can miss seeing up to 50 percent of their driving environment, including stop signs, pedestrians and red lights.

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month and Healthy Habits 2013 reminds Tri-State motorists to remember the following advice from the National Safety Council:
Always buckle up.

Keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road.

Shut off your cell phone, turn off your ringer and allow calls to go to voicemail when you are driving. Return them when you have finished driving and are parked in a safe place

The council does not, under any circumstance, recommend the use of a hands-free device while driving. It recommends drivers pull over in a safe place and put the car in park before making or taking a cellphone call, or sending or reading a text message or email.

Secure your pets properly before you start to drive. Pets can be a big distraction in the car.
Keep the kids safe. Pull over to a safe location to address situations with your children in the car.

Focus on the task at hand. Refrain from smoking, eating, drinking, reading and any other activity that takes your mind and eyes off the road.
The safe operation of your car or truck is your primary responsibility. Do not let anything -- a wireless phone call, the radio/CD/iPod, the kids, applying makeup, shaving, a newspaper, food and beverages -- distract you from the safe operation of your vehicle.

Healthy Habits 2013 is a partnership among Cabell Huntington Hospital, Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine and St. Mary's Medical Center. We are a community working together to improve our health. Our goal is a simple one; to inform and encourage area residents on ways to improve their health. Join our conversation and "like" us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/healthyhabits2013.