These quick safety tips can help you stay distraction free this holiday season.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2021 (the most recent year for which data is available) roughly 3,500 people were killed and an estimated 360,000 more were injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes involving distracted drivers.
Busy holiday schedules can make it harder to keep focused behind the wheel. Things like eating, talking to passengers, and adjusting the radio or climate controls are all forms of distracted driving, but cellphone use is one of the most dangerous distractions—one that’s been steadily on rise in the U.S. since 2005.
The National Safety Council estimates that drivers using cell phones look at but fail to see up to 50% of the information in their driving environment.
Distraction-Free Holiday Driving
Don’t be fooled: multitasking is a myth! Your brain can’t process two cognitively demanding things at once, such as reading text and driving. Instead, during distracted driving, your attention shifts rapidly between two tasks. In those milliseconds between, situations can rapidly change in a moving vehicle.
Please take a moment to review these important safety reminders so you can plan your holiday driving needs carefully and without distraction.
- Give yourself an extra ten minutes to get where you’re going. Distractions are easier to avoid when you don’t feel rushed.
- If you’re expecting a text message or need to send one, pull over and park your car in a safe location. Once you are safely off the road and parked, it’s safe to text.
- Designate a 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.
- Struggling to not text and drive? Activate your phone’s “Do Not Disturb” feature, or put your cell phone in the glove box, or back seat of your vehicle until you arrive at your destination.
When you get behind the wheel, be an example to your family and friends by putting your phone away.
Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is teaming up with the law enforcement community nationwide during the 2023 winter holiday season Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over high-visibility enforcement campaign, which runs from December 15, 2023, through January 1, 2024.
A few dollars spent on a ride is a lot cheaper than a DUI, which can cost up to $10,000. There are plenty of options to help impaired drivers get home safely, such as designating a sober driver or taking a rideshare or taxi.
Always have a plan before you head out for the evening. If you wait until after you’ve been drinking to figure out how to get from one place to the next, you may not be in the best condition to make the right choices.
Keep the season happy and safe by following the law and refusing to drink and drive, and please remember to always drive distraction-free—no call or text is worth injuring yourself or someone else.