April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month and to be honest we could really use some awareness in Lawton, Fort Sill when it comes to distracted driving. Over the past 2 or 3 days I've had some really close calls on the roads and in parking lots. Yesterday I had a lady almost run into me while I was going down Cache Road, she turned right into my lane somehow not seeing me. She was on her phone either talking or texting and came real close to hitting me. I laid on the horn and luckily at the last minute she hit the brakes.

The NSC (National Safety Council) and the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) recognize and promote April as being Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The goal is to raise awareness and attempt to change people's driving habits, especially bad ones. Distracted driving is a real problem Nationwide as more and more drivers aren't paying attention to the road and what they're doing behind the wheel. You'd be surprised at just how many accidents and fender benders are caused by distracted driving. Most accidents these days are attributed to one form or another of distracted driving and our roads and highways have become far more dangerous and deadly because of it. So let's try to do something about it.

Over the past couple of months it's gotten worse as the number of accidents have increased both locally and all around the county. One reason is more people are back on the roads after the COVID-19 pandemic so we're seeing more traffic. Last year a lot of people worked from home, quarantined and seriously reduced their amount of time out and about. Now that things are starting to get back to semi-normal people are returning to work and going out, so the days of no traffic and fewer people on the roads are coming to a close. It was nice while it lasted, I hated the pandemic but loved the lack of traffic.

A new survey was done recently and released by prnewswire.com that lists the most common causes for distracted driving. They held a National poll and according to the responses the survey identified the top 5 causes for distracted driving:

#05 The radio, music playing or trying to change stations or channels.   

#04 Eating or drinking while driving.

#03 Cell phones, calls and texts. I'm surprised this one wasn't higher on the list.

#02 Passengers, especially kids and back seat drivers.

#01 Things outside the car like other vehicles, billboards and just looking at unfamiliar sights and scenery.

The last 2 accidents I was involved in, both were low speed "parking lot" type fender benders were caused by people who were on their phones and not paying attention. Sadly one of these times was when I just got my truck out of the body shop and only had it for a few short weeks when I was hit by a driver who was on the phone. It torn up the front fender pretty bad, so I had to take it back to the shop again. For whatever reason the truck was a magnet for distanced drivers for most of that summer as I was hit yet again by someone not paying attention and on their phone.

So whatever may be distracting you while behind the wheel please stop doing it, for your saftey and the saftey of your fellow motor enthusiasts. This includes me too, I've just been lucky that I haven't caused an accident. I'm more aware these days because I have a teenage daughter who is now driving, so I do my very best to follow my own advise and not get distracted or use the phone while driving.

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