April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and the caregivers at Sonoma Life Support want to remind motorists that any activity that diverts attention away from the road is a potentially hazardous distraction.
"Taking your eyes off the road for a split second, at any speed, has enormous potential to cause an accident," Ambrose Stevens, Operations Manager for Sonoma Life Support said. “We want drivers of all ages to be aware that using a cell phone, changing the radio station, using a navigation system, and even eating and drinking can all be serious distractions behind the wheel."
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 3,000 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver in 2017 alone.
Sonoma Life Support encourages Sonoma County residents to be safe and follow these tips for avoiding distractions while behind the wheel.
Always remain focused. Don't let distractions in your vehicle divert your attention away from following the rules of the road.
Do some pre-departure prep. Before you hit the road, adjust your seats and mirrors, program your navigation system and radio stations, and set your car's climate controls.
Complete personal grooming at home. Combing your hair, shaving, applying makeup, and even brushing your teeth are all activities best done at home - not behind the wheel.
Try to avoid snacking on the go. If possible, eat meals and snacks before you hit the road. If you must eat while driving, opt for foods that are easy to manage and won't make a mess.
Secure your passengers and pets before departure. Make sure all passengers are wearing seatbelts, small children are properly buckled in car seats, and pets are safely secured before you leave.
Set aside or stow distracting items. Don't use electronic devices, including cell phones, while driving. Be sure to stow backpacks, bags, jackets, or other loose gear that may shift while in route so that you don't feel tempted to reach for items.
When your attention is needed, find a safe spot to pull over. Passengers, pets, important phone calls, and even text messages can all require your attention while behind the wheel. Instead of attempting these things while driving, find a safe place to pull over and address them.
In partnership with the Sonoma County Safe Streets Coalition, Sonoma Life Support has outfitted one of its Sprinter ambulance vehicles with distracted driving prevention messaging as a reminder to Sonoma County motorists.
Sonoma Life Support is committed to the health and wellbeing in the communities it serves. Our caregivers promote safety and preparedness to save lives and prevent both injury and disability.