Prepared by Peggy Jo Goodfellow, Arizona Farm Bureau: Statistics show that one of every six traffic fatalities is related to driver distraction. Another half million injuries result from distraction-related crashes.

A common source of distraction is trying to multitask while driving. A recent reminder is a fender bender that one of our Farm Bureau families recently experienced. While driving through town and slowing down for a stop light, our Farm Bureau driver was rear-ended. When both parties pulled to the side of the road to exchange information, the driver that hit our Farm Bureau member was a young mom with two young toddlers in the back seat buckled into their safety seats. 

Surprisingly, the mom confessed to texting. Fortunately, this accident was just a fender bender but today, texting while driving has produced fatal results. 

Here are seven tips that make it simple to become a safer, more attentive driver on your way to and from work, the farm or wherever you may be going.

1) Put the phone away. It can be tempting to multitask by using your cell phone to finish the workday or follow up on family matters. But research shows that driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37 percent. If you need to make a call or send a text, stop in a safe location and complete your conversation before resuming your commute.

2) Eating and driving don’t mix. When you’re on the go, your commute might seem like a convenient time to enjoy a bite of breakfast or an afternoon snack, but that convenience should be secondary to your safety. Keeping both hands free to drive makes it easier to respond to unexpected situations.

3) Take care in school zones. As you drop off children at daycare on your way to work or pick up your precious cargo after school activities, keep a watchful eye on both pedestrians and bicyclists. Beyond following posted speed limits and stopping for school buses …watch for children who might dart out between cars in congested traffic.

4) Drive like your car is brand new. Consider adopting the same level of awareness you had when first driving a new car. Continuously checking your mirrors, watching your blind spots and scanning the roadway ahead are ways to keep your eyes moving and your mind alert.

5) Make adjustments while you’re in “park.” Remember the basic rule from driver’s education class?  Adjusting your mirrors, tunes and temperature controls before you switch into drive mode is just as important today. Remember that “Drive” means drive.

6) Don’t drive while under the influence. Enough said.

7) When the weather is bad…take extra care. Even if your commute is just a short distance, allow extra time to get to your destination.

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  Source: Farm Bureau Financial Services