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Thursday, October 25, 2012
Navigate the Road with Distracted Drivers
What can you
do to navigate safely on a road with increasingly distracted drivers?
aware of common driver distractions and make sure you are not a distracted
driver yourself. According to California Department of Motor Vehicles, there
are three types of distractions while driving:
Visual - eyes are off the road
Cognitive - mind is off the road
hands are off the wheel
Some of these distractions you can see clearly,
like a person on a cell phone or eating or even combing their hair. Others are not as easy to notice, such as a
person that doesn’t know where they are going, or if their mind is preoccupied
with thinking about a recent work issue or even an argument with their spouse. The idea is to be aware so you can take
measures to keep you safe on the road.
The best defense against distracted drivers is defensive driving. If you use the SIPDE process to
handle distracted drivers, you can increase your chances of avoiding potential collisions.
SIPDE stands for Search, Identify, Predict, Decide, and Execute.
Search – your eyes should be constantly
moving to look ahead, behind, and on both sides. Be aware of what is happening around you.
Identify – Find the distracted drivers or
potential distractions. The distracted
driver may be eating, drinking, talking or texting on the phone, reading a map,
etc. Also identify the distractions like
the person in the banana suit or a car that is pulled over on the side of the
road. These are things can cause a
driver to take their eyes off the road.
Predict – Try to predict the potential
problems. Will the distracted driver
weave into another lane? Will they see
the traffic stopped ahead and be able to stop in time? Consider what could happen and be prepared to
Decide - Decide what action you need to
take to avoid the potential hazard. Should
you move into a different lane? Should
you decrease your speed? Increase your
following distance? Know what you will do to avoid a conflict.
Execute – If what you predicted occurs,
you are prepared to make the necessary move.
Now you take the action needed.
Steer away from the conflict, apply brakes, or accelerate to get out of
the way. These are just a few things you
can do to avoid the conflict.
Remember, distractions are everywhere and so are
distracted drivers. Using the SIPDE
process helps you be prepared to act quickly and keeps you from being a victim
of distracted driving. Keep your hands
on the wheel, your eyes on the road, and your mind in the game.