Keep your eyes ahead so you don’t end up dead

Photo by Luke Sarazin

September is by far my favourite month. It’s getting cooler, the seasons are beginning to change and there’s that newfound excitement to begin another school year. It seems like the perfect way to end off a pleasant summer – at the very least a far better transition than any of those cold, wintery nights could be.

Be that as it may, it also marks a busy time of year. As we return to school, the number of cars on the roads will increase. There will also be more people getting off school buses and crossing streets.

This means that we need to talk about distracted driving and how to avoid it when – come September – there will be a lot of moving parts in each of our lives.

There are quite a few sources of distraction out there. The most obvious being our cell phones and by extension, social media.

Don’t text while you are driving. Just don’t do it. I think we as students can sometimes become carried away. There is a tendency to act like we are invincible. We have this notion that we can get away with things like texting and not paying attention like it’s no big deal.

Well, in case you didn’t know, it is a big deal. It can have a tremendous impact on your ability to stay focused on the road.

So yes, really, that text you just got while you were driving can wait. You can check your social media later and if that phone call is so important, I suggest you find a safe place to pull over before you make the call. For right now, keep both hands on the wheel and keep your eyes forward.

I know what some people might be thinking, one text or phone call can’t hurt. After all, it’s just one.

That’s where you are wrong. Even if you think your focus isn’t being affected, you are being subconsciously distracted.

If your car has hands-free technology, take advantage of it, but don’t use it as a means to defend your persistent distracted driving habits. In other words, a hands-free system won’t be very helpful if you continually reach for your phone to look up addresses while you are driving.

The start of the school year means there’s also a higher tendency to consume alcohol. If you choose to drink, don’t drive. Don’t be careless. Plan ahead for alternative ways to get to wherever you need to go. Remember, you are responsible for your own actions.

The burden falls on each and every one of us to avoid distractions, but also to report them if we see them.

There is really no excuse for being distracted behind the wheel. However, in my view, busier times of the year are when we are most susceptible to errors in judgment.

I think I like September the most because it’s a month where I can hit that metaphorical refresh button. It’s a fresh start for all of us. 

We can take this opportunity to make a conscious decision to recognize any poor driving habits we may have.

Like any other bad habit, it will require you to make a lifestyle change first.

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