Think defense when taking to the roads

QUESTION: What’s the most important word in driving?

ANSWER: Most of us have shouted “Defense, Defense, Defense!” at a weekend football game when our team needs to hold the line when the opposing team is within 10 yards of a touchdown.

Well, this month I am feeling compelled to shout “Defense!” in regards to safe driving. I have recently been traveling on U.S. Highways for six days, from Minnesota to Florida and back. Being in a F150 Ford truck allowed those of us traveling to clearly see other drivers and we became very aware that nearly all the drivers between the ages of 16 and 35 who passed us were on their cell phones. Many were holding a cell phone and talking. Many were steering with one hand and holding their cell phone in the other hand and texting with a thumb. We even saw drivers driving with their knees while texting.

These drivers were driving at high speeds and were clearly distracted.

During this last month, our Minnesota newspaper headlines have read “February is deadly month on state roads.” In the first 10 days of February, the number of traffic fatalities exceeded the nine people killed during the month of January. State statistics show that distracted driving is involved in one in four fatalities.

The message is that distracted and speeding drivers are not only a danger to themselves, they are a danger to all the other drivers on the road.

We must all be wearing our seatbelts, complying with the speed limit, and being ready to slow down. In fact, I learned a new defensive driving skill during my recent 1,600 mile trip: When you realize you are coming up on a slowing line of traffic, put your blinkers on to alert the car behind you that you are changing speed. Think defense. Talk defense. Drive defensively.

 

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