Start the Year Safe

Many of us made resolutions to start the New Year. While eating more fruits and vegetables and parking as far away from the supermarket as possible will help improve your health in 2019, here’s a resolution that can impact the lives of others — as well as your own life. Make a resolution in 2019 to focus on your driving and drive like you would want the person in front of you, behind you, and beside you to drive. Driving is one area where your actions can not only affect yourself, but other drivers and passengers on the road, too. Motor vehicle crashes continue to take their toll in our state as not one day has passed since November 2000 without a fatal motor vehicle crash on Texas roadways. Avoiding distractions, driving within the speed limit, driving alert and sober, and making sure that you and all your passengers are always buckled up can help make 2019 a better year on Texas roads.

Put down the phone when you are driving and do not drive distracted! Research shows that texting is among the most dangerous forms of distracted driving. Sending or reading an average text message takes drivers’ eyes off the road for 4 to 5 seconds, which means at 55 miles per hour, a texting driver would travel the length of a football field without looking at the road — as if being blindfolded. Any time you take your hands off the wheel, your eyes off the road, and especially your mind off of your driving, you put yourself, your passengers and others on the road at risk. Resolve to not use your phone this year while driving. Cell phones are a major distraction, but not the only one: adjusting radios and GPS devices, loose pets, eating, and applying makeup while driving are other major distractions that can affect your driving.

Here are a few more driving resolutions for 2019:

Drive the posted speed limit, slow down for construction and emergency vehicles, and always drive slower and more cautiously when weather conditions, road conditions, or visibility are poor. Keep the proper distance between your car and the vehicle in front of you, leaving enough room to stop in an emergency.

Make sure you are prepared to drive. Always arrange for a sober driver or ride home if alcohol is consumed. Make sure to not drive while drowsy. By being well-rested and sober before getting behind the wheel, motorists will be better prepared to arrive at their destination safely.

Take the few seconds to put on your seatbelt and make sure that all passengers are also buckled up. Take time to be sure that all children are riding in the correct car seat for their age, weight, and developmental stage. Also, get a car seat inspection by a certified child passenger safety technician to make sure the car seats are being used and installed correctly.

Last but not least, be a role model for the teen drivers in your family and for their friends. Show them what it means to focus on your driving.  Respect yourself and others and show what is expected to be safe while focusing on the single important job of driving.

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