EFFINGHAM – Fall means harvest time and as farmers are getting into the fields, that also means they need to navigate their combines and implements on roadways. HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital is encouraging everyone to take steps to makes this a safe harvest season by staying alert on the roads by avoiding electronic distractions while driving.
Up to 90 percent of all car crashes are caused by driver error, and about 26 percent of all car crashes involve cell phone use – including hands-free. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), more than 30 studies show hands-free devices are no safer because the brain remains distracted by the conversation. When talking on a cell phone, drivers can miss seeing up to 50% of what’s around them, such as traffic lights, stop signs and pedestrians.
“At 60 miles per hour, a car will travel almost 30 yards in one second and almost 60 yards in two seconds – over half the length of a football field. So much can happen in that short time and distance,” said Dr. David Sprowls, medical director of St. Anthony’s Emergency Department. “The best advice is to stay off of electronics while driving – it is not worth the potential tragedy that can occur.”
Here are seven tips to keep your eyes on the road, your hands on the wheel and your mind on the drive.
1. First and foremost, turn off your cellphone. Put it in the glove compartment, in your purse or in your trunk. There is no safe way to make a call while driving – not even hands-free.
2. Send and read text messages and emails before you start driving.
3. If you’re going on a longer drive, schedule breaks to stop, park safely, and respond to messages.
4. Using voice features in your car’s infotainment system is also distracting. Take care of communications before you start driving.
5. Know where you’re going before you put the car in “drive.” Put your destination into your GPS so you do not need to fiddle with it while the car is moving.
6. Social media can wait. No update, tweet or video is worth a life.
7. Park in a safe area if you must take a call, return a text or check email.
Check out the National Safety Council’s Web site at www.nsc.org/cellfree to learn more.