Eyes on the Road Please!

April is distracted driving awareness month, and the Wyandot County Safe Communities Coalition and local law enforcement agencies want drivers to face the facts: you can’t drive safely unless the task of driving has your full attention.

Any non-driving activity you engage in while driving is a potential distraction that increases your risk of crashing. Regular distractions include using a cell phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, or even fiddling with the stereo. Driving while distracted robs you of seconds you may need to avoid a close call or a deadly crash.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that nine people are killed and more than 1,000 injured daily due to distracted driving. Locally, distracted driving is also a problem. According to 2020 data, the Ohio State Highway Patrol issued 185 distracted driving violations in Wyandot County. That is over 35% more violations than in any surrounding county. In addition, 19 distracted driving associated crashes were recorded by local law enforcement agencies last year.

To reduce the risk of being distracted, change your habits and keep your eyes on the road. Here are some good pointers to reduce your chances of being distracted:

Stow your phone. Turning off the phone and putting it in “do not disturb” mode can help remove the temptation to browse online or respond right away to a text message.

Vow not to multi-task. Anything that occupies your mind or vision can be a distraction behind the wheel. Make time at home to eat meals or put on makeup, so you can focus on the road.

Set a good example. Parents can model good behavior for their children by demonstrating attentive driving. Avoid texting, eating, grooming or calling someone while behind the wheel.

Avoiding reaching. Resist the urge to reach for items if they fall while driving.

Remember, one of the safest ways to keep yourself from becoming a distracted driver is to manage non-driving tasks before driving- every day. For more information regarding traffic safety, follow Wyandot County Public Health on Facebook or visit www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov.