Twelve Simple Steps We Can Take For Safer Driving
April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation, EndDD.org, and 60 For Safety have coordinated efforts to develop a program for high school students that will be used by 850 speakers, presenting to 25,000 students across North America in April and May. One part of the presentation is to describe the dozen steps we can all take to make the road safer.
In recent years, there has been closer attention to the problem of distracted driving. Many Americans are changing the way they drive. Those who have lost family members to distracted driving, like Joel Feldman, hope that it won’t take a tragedy for all of us to drive safer. He explained “I drove distracted before my daughter Casey was killed by a distracted driver. I did not change the way I drive until after her death. I was only lucky I never was in an accident because I was not a safe driver. I took lots of chances while driving.”
Assisting in preparation of the presentation was Lela Jacobsohn, Ph.D., from Children’s Hospital’s Injury Research and Prevention Center (CIRP) in Philadelphia. CIRP is nationally recognized as a leader in safety research and teen messaging. Our experience, gained from speaking to thousands of teens about distracted driving, is that teens want to drive safer and teens have good ideas for keeping safe while passengers or drivers.
It doesn’t stop with the student programAlthough the focus of the speakers’ presentations will be high-school teenagers, the twelve steps are important concepts for all drivers, from teen through adult, to learn. Safety behind the wheel isn’t limited by age or experience, and frequently older drivers allow themselves to be distracted. You should not just memorize these twelve guidelines: you should make them a routine, unconscious part of your driving skills:
- I will drive without texting.
- I will drive without making or receiving calls or texts.
- I will call or text before I start driving, to let parents or friends know when I’ll arrive.
- When I am alone, I will turn my cell phone off before I start to drive.
- I will pull over to safe location before making or receiving calls or text messages.
- I will deputize my passenger to make or receive calls and texts while I am driving.
- I will wait until I have finished driving to eat.
- I will until I am finished driving to swap CDs or scroll through my iPod or iPhone (or similar device) to change music selections.
- I will apply makeup before I start to drive, or wait until I am finished to reach for objects in the back seat.
- I will wait to text or call others until they have finished driving.
- I will ask my driver to drive more safely when I am a passenger in their car.
- I will be a driver who cares about the safety of others and is not selfish.