Drive By Example is a drivers safety awareness initiative that encourages all drivers to take a safe approach to driving. Because driving requires the “highest degree of care”, there are 3 primary habits that are modeled by safe drivers.

1. Drive Alert

A. Avoid Cell Phone Distractions

Recent crash statistics show that at least 1.6 million crashes occur every year occur because the driver was distracted by texting or using a cell phone. Moreover, crashes caused due to cell phone distractions tend to be more violent because the distracted driver is not able brake or otherwise avoid an impending the collision.

It is clear that cell phone distractions present a new universe of risk for all drivers. In fact, many driving safety experts believe that using your cell phone can prove to be more dangerous than driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Distracted driving has been magnified by the proliferation of the “smartphone”. Drivers are now able to do many functions on their cell phone, including talk, text, browse, navigate, and update social media while they drive.

B. Be Alert to Road, Traffic, & Weather Conditions

Driving alert means more than just putting your cell phone away. It means exercising the highest degree of care by keeping your eyes on the road and being alert to changing road, traffic, and weather conditions.

Drivers can exercise care by “driving ahead” of their vehicle by anticipating traffic stops, an upcoming intersection, road construction, or other obstacles. Do not let your guard down just because your very familiar with your route. In fact, many collisions happen because we let our minds wander from driving and become less alert.

Driving alert also means that we should take into account the weather conditions. Any sort of precipitation makes driving a challenge. Be especially alert when the cold weather hits as roads become slick and can cause cars to slide and hydro-plane out of control.

C. The Hidden Distraction – Passengers

A new study shows that teens drivers with peer passengers are more likely to be distracted just before a crash when compared to teens who crashed while driving alone. The study found that teens who most likely to drive with multiple passengers shared the following characteristics:

  • Considered themselves “thrill-seekers.”
  • Perceived their parents as not setting rules or monitoring their whereabouts.
  • Possessed a weak perception of risks associated with driving.

Among teens who said they were distracted by something before they crashed, 71% of males and 47% of females said they were distracted by the actions of their passengers.

2. Drive Buckled

Statistics show that seat belts would prevent 50% of death and serious injuries if worn. Seat belts:

  • Prevent Ejection
  • Protect the head and spinal cord
  • Keeps occupants of the vehicle from striking each other

Drivers should also make sure that passengers are properly belted and small children are secured in an approved child safety seat.

3. Drive Cautious

Drivers should take a patient, cautious approach to driving at all times and anticipate that drivers around you may nor be paying attention.

Always drive defensively and do not fall prey to “pressure driving” where you are hurried or frustrated by traffic delays. Speeding or rushing is futile and makes little difference your arrival time. Avoid sudden lane changes and passing too fast.

Develop a habit of being a safe passer by using your mirrors, upgrading your concentration, using your turn signal, and both hands controlling your vehicle.

Cautious, considerate driving is contagious. Pay it forward.