Dis­trac­ted dri­ving me­na­ce on our ro­ads

George Herald - Auto Dealer - - Voorblad -

Being dis­trac­ted from dri­ving is one of the ma­jor cau­ses of ro­ad ac­ci­dents and mo­to­ris­ts need to be con­s­ci­ous of this, says De­wald Ranft, chair­man of the Mo­tor In­du­stry Works­hop As­so­ci­a­ti­on (Mi­wa), a con­sti­tu­ent as­so­ci­a­ti­on of the Re­tail Mo­tor In­du­stry Or­ga­ni­sa­ti­on (RMI).

Tex­ting whi­le o­pe­ra­ting a vehi­cle is the most dan­ge­rous acti­vi­ty, but dis­trac­ted dri­ving in­clu­des ot­her acti­vi­ties.

“It is any acti­vi­ty that ta­kes a per­son’s at­ten­ti­on a­way from the main task of dri­ving,” says Ranft. “The­re are three ty­pes of dis­tracti­ons - vi­su­al, w­hen the dri­ver ta­kes his or her ey­es off the ro­ad; ma­nu­al, w­he­re a task re­qui­res the dri­ver to ta­ke hands off the s­teer­ing w­heel; and cog­ni­ti­ve, w­hen the dri­ver’s mind is not fo­cu­sed on the task at hand.”

The­se acti­vi­ties could in­clu­de e­a­ting and drin­king, g­roo­m­ing, ad­jus­ting the ra­dio or tal­king to pas­sen­gers.

“Ho­we­ver, tex­ting is the ris­kiest acti­vi­ty be­cau­se it is a vi­su­al, ma­nu­al and cog­ni­ti­ve di­ver­si­on, which me­ans no at­ten­ti­on is being paid to the ro­ad,” says Ranft. W­hen dri­ving, you ha­ve to think a­bout a lot of t­hings: speed, the traf­fic laws, the di­recti­on you’re going in, ro­ad con­di­ti­ons, pe­de­stri­ans, ot­her cars a­round you. If the dri­ver isn’t fo­cu­sed on the task at hand, the­re is a g­re­a­ter chan­ce that you’ll be in­vol­ved in an ac­ci­dent.

“We need to get off our pho­nes and d­ri­ve. That should be the on­ly pri­o­ri­ty. You do not want to be­co­me a sta­tis­tic.”

Pas­sen­gers can help by re­min­ding the dri­ver w­hen their at­ten­ti­on is not on the ro­ad and as­sis­ting them with a­ny­thing they may need, he says.

Ranft of­fers the­se ad­di­ti­o­nal tips to en­s­u­re sa­fer dri­ving:

Don’t re­ad, eat, chan­ge clo­thing or g­room your­self whi­le dri­ving.

Don’t al­low pas­sen­gers to be a dis­tracti­on. En­s­u­re small child­ren are buckled up be­fo­re de­par­ting. If they re­qui­re at­ten­ti­on du­ring the trip, rat­her pull o­ver to as­sist them.

Don’t let a­ni­mals ro­am a­round the vehi­cle free­ly. Rat­her put them in a pet car­rier re­strai­ning.

Cre­a­te a play­list with your fa­vou­ri­te mu­sic so you don’t ha­ve to look for son­gs.

Let your friends and fa­mi­ly know you will not ans­wer any pho­ne calls or texts whi­le dri­ving.

Keep a sa­fe fol­lo­wing dis­tan­ce, al­lo­wing ti­me to re­act if ne­ces­sa­ry.

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