April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month
Follow these tips to help make roadways safer for everyone.
Did you know that vehicle injuries are the second most common reason patients are referred to Shepherd Center? April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, a time when we can remind ourselves of safe driving practices, especially as more and more people begin hitting the road. Shepherd Center's Adaptive Driving Program in partnership with the Injury Prevention Program have put together some life-saving tips you should keep in mind.
- Visual Distractions
Visual distractions can include passengers, GPS and maps, looking at landscaping and advertising, reading, or watching a video while driving. Of all visual distractions, cell phone use is the most common and has resulted in laws limiting or eliminating cell phone use while driving.
Helpful tips to consider (source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration):
- Need to send a text? Pull over and park your car in a safe location. Only then is it safe to send or read a text.
- Designate your passenger as your “designated texter.” Allow them access to your phone to respond to calls or messages.
- Do not engage in social media, scrolling or messaging while driving.
- Cell phone use can be habit-forming. Struggling to not text and drive? Put the cell phone in the trunk, glove box or back seat of the vehicle until you arrive at your destination.
- Manual Distractions
A manual distraction is any activity that requires you to take your hand(s) off the wheel. Some examples include eating and drinking, smoking, grooming, reaching to change the radio or climate controls, and searching for items in a personal bag while driving.
Helpful tips to consider:
- Pull over to engage in any activity that requires hands to be off the wheel.
- The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration recommends that proper hands placement is now at 9 and 3 on the steering wheel.
- Be sure that the seat and mirrors are adjusted prior to moving the vehicle to ensure comfort and decrease fatigue.
- Cognitive Distractions
Cognitive distractions include daydreaming, arguing with a passenger, driving while emotional or upset, singing, road rage, and being tired.
Helpful tips to consider:
- Drive in silence (quiet passengers or no passengers, no radio).
- Leave early. This decreases stress and decreases the risk of rushing and/or road rage.
- Be kind when driving. Remember the goal is always to arrive alive!
- Say each step of driving out loud to help you stay focused on the task of driving.
Shepherd Center, located in Atlanta, Georgia, is a private, not-for-profit hospital specializing in medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, spine and chronic pain, and other neuromuscular conditions. Founded in 1975, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 10 rehabilitation hospitals in the nation. In its more than four decades, Shepherd Center has grown from a six-bed rehabilitation unit to a world-renowned, 152-bed hospital that treats more than 743 inpatients, 277 day program patients and more than 7,161 outpatients each year in more than 46,000 visits.