Save a Life

Avoid distractions while driving

Play it safe. That text can wait. While driving, turn phone to silent mode or pull over if the text can't wait.Some temptations are hard to resist and are evidence that trying to do too many things at once can be lethal. While driving, we hear an alert from a text or call coming through our phone, and we sometimes feel the need to check it. We know we shouldn’t, but we reason that we are going to make an exception—just this once.

Why do we indulge in behavior we know to be wrong, dangerous, and in some states, illegal? According to AAA research, most people feel they are better-than-average drivers. After all, we have busy lives and are accustomed to multitasking. However, research and thousands of deaths every year prove otherwise.

August is Back to School Safety Month. As a new school year begins with young drivers and school buses back on the road, now is a good time to remind folks of the dangers of distracted driving.

The reality is using a phone while driving creates potential for injuries and fatalities. Distractions take a motorist’s attention off driving, which can make a driver miss critical events, objects, and cues, potentially leading to a crash.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, one in 10 fatal crashes in the United States involves distracted driving, resulting in more than 3,000 deaths annually. Many of these accidents could be avoided if drivers had put down their phones while driving. Distracted driving is any activity that diverts our attention from the roadway when we’re behind the wheel: texting or talking on the phone, and adjusting the radio or navigation system.

Sending or reading one text takes your eyes off the road for an average of five seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed. In addition to refraining from texting while driving, we can help keep the roads safe by moving over for first responders and other emergency vehicles. If you see utility crews working near the roadside, please move over and give them the space they need to work safely.

At United Electric Cooperative, safety is foremost in everything we do—for our employees and the members of the communities we serve. We routinely remind our crews of the dangers of distracted driving, and we hope you will have similar conversations with your family—teenagers who may be new to the roadways and are susceptible to the lure of technology. Let’s work together to keep everyone safe on the roads. Remember: That text can wait, and waiting just might save a life.