This week’s Friday Fire Safety Tip is provided to us by local resident/author Jennifer Dawson. Her topic of choice is ‘Distracted Driving’ and one that is very important to us as well. Below is Jennifer’s article:
The Huntersville Fire Department Needs Your Help To Fight Distracted Driving
You wouldn’t think twice about calling 911 and asking for the fire department in the event of a fire. However, according to Statista, in 2016 fire departments across US dealt with just 1.34 million fires. Instead, Huntersville Fire Department is finding they’re spending more and more time dealing with road traffic accidents caused by distracted or impaired driving. Of course, all of Huntersville’s Fire Department callouts are dealt with promptly, but what can Huntersville residents do to lower the number of road-related incidents the HFD team deals with?
Put away the electronics
North Carolina ranks 5th in the number of fatal car crashes caused by cell phone use, according to research conducted by Expertmarket.com. Of these incidents, Huntersville fire crews have assisted other emergency services with many them. It’s not just cell phones that are distracting, satellite navigation, music systems, and built-in DVD players provide drivers with something, other than the road, to watch or listen to. So, before you turn on the engine, carefully consider which, if any, of these electronics, need to be on. Your satellite navigation can be discarded (if you know the route you’re going to take) consider switching the music off, let the kids watch their favorite movie using earphones and keep your phone the trunk where you can’t be tempted to reach for it.take
Don’t take risks
Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs puts you at substantial risk of being involved in a traffic accident. NCDPS cites “it is illegal to drive a vehicle while noticeably impaired or with an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher. When driving a commercial motor vehicle, the limit is 0.04.” We remind, an urge you, to never get behind the wheel when you’ve been drinking and implore you to find another a ride home (a designated driver, Uber, Lift etc). Case in point – an impaired driver, driving the wrong way on the Interstate 485 near West Boulevard earlier this year, demonstrated the impact that distracted driving has on drivers and the fire department. In this case, firefighters were called to a very serious accident where two individuals died, in a fiery head-on collision. .
If the kids are shouting in the back of the car, your dog is being a nuisance or you’re feeling emotional after a tough day at work, pull over and take a breather as this will give you time to get your head together and prepare yourself for the rest of the journey. You may just need five minutes on the side of the road to feel refreshed and ready to tackle the road ahead, or, you may be better off grabbing a coffee and a snack before heading back out on the road. Either way, make sure disturbances in your vehicle are eradicated so that you can give the road your full attention.
Distracted Driving Statistics
Distracted driving is when activities, such as eating while driving, fiddling with the car stereo, or using your cell phone take your eyes off the road.The most common driver distractions include:
- Talking on a cell phone
- Sending text messages
- Applying makeup
- Eating food
- Reaching for a moving object inside the vehicle
Distracted driving is dangerous, claiming 3,450 lives in 2016 alone. In 2016; 391,000 were also injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers. During daylight hours, approximately 481,000 drivers are using cell phones while driving. That creates enormous potential for deaths and injuries on U.S. roads. Teens were the largest age group reported as distracted at the time of fatal crashes.