Commentary

February 5, 2016
 

Arrive safe by mitigating risks when driving

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Submitted by Kim Garcia
USAG Safety
U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center image
Text messaging requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver making it the most alarming distraction.

Consider these factors before you get behind the wheel to mitigate risk and arrive safe at your destination:

Environment: The Scripps Howard News Service has compiled a list of the most dangerous roads in the country. You may be surprised to know that almost half of them are located near Fort Irwin. These dangerous highways may be hampered not just by a defective design and construction, but also by negligent and risky driving behaviors that increase the risk of an accident. Fort Irwin Road has many of the same challenges.

Speed: Old Fort Irwin Road’s speed limit is 55 miles per hour. Fort Irwin Road is engineered to be driven at 65 MPH. With the recent increase from 55 to 65, there is simply no excuse for negligence in this area. Speeding involves many factors including attitude, values, maturity, vehicle performance and roadway characteristics. Fort Irwin Road offers a novel scenario to increase speed, but at what cost? Driving from Fort Irwin to Barstow at 75 MPH verses 65 MPH will increase your arrival time by about five minutes. Driving 10 MPH over the posted speed greatly decreases your reaction time to any hazard and places you at increased risk for accidents. Five minutes of time is not worth your life.

Defensive Driving: Roadways can be chaotic places. There are more stressed out, distracted, inattentive and fatigued drivers now than ever before. Defensive driving includes reading and evaluating traffic patterns and making predictions as to how potential hazards will affect you and other motorists. Your ability to assess and react to hazards is critical to your safety, the safety of your passengers and other drivers. Daily commutes on Fort Irwin Road become monotonous and may create complacency. Continuously stay alert and be prepared to react to traffic hazards.

Distractions: Distracted driving is the practice of driving a motor vehicle while engaged in another activity, typically one that involves the use of a cell phone or other electronic device. The AAA states that distracted driving accounts for 25 to 50 percent of all accidents (from https://www.aaafoundation.org/).

Some common driving distractions include: texting, using a cell phone or smartphone, eating and drinking, talking to passengers, grooming, reading – including maps, using a navigation system, watching a video, and adjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player.

However, because text messaging requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver, it is by far the most alarming distraction.

Don’t let yourself get distracted while driving. Keep your mind on your driving; keep your eyes on the road, and your hands on the wheel!




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