Danger zone: The distance of distraction on the roads
The ‘don’t drink and drive’ mantra has been loud and clear for a long time.
But there’s another message WA drivers need to fully embrace – distractions can be a killer.
Taking your eyes off the road for just a few moments can result in life-long consequences for yourself, your passengers or other road users.
Impacts at even relatively low speeds can be brutal.
In 2019, 31 people died on Western Australian roads in crashes caused by inattention.
The ‘distance of distraction’ is scary.
Glance away from the road travelling at 60km/h and you’re effectively driving blind for 33 metres.
At 100km/h you’ll ‘miss’ 55 metres of road. And that includes anything in your path.
So you could miss a bike rider, a pedestrian or children crossing the road.
From 1 July the State Government is getting tougher on mobile phone offences.
Drivers caught touching or holding a mobile phone whilst driving, including using the phone for a voice call will face a $500 infringement and three demerit points.
Creating or viewing a text, social media, video or similar, whilst driving (even when the phone is secured in a mounting or can be operated without touching it) will incur a $1,000 infringement and four demerit points.
Distractions for the driver don’t necessarily involve anything illegal.
It could be turning around to stop the kids arguing; searching for your sunglasses or checking your hair in the mirror. Whatever the reason, if your eyes are off the road, you’re driving blind
Don’t be fooled – distracted driving is not harmless behaviour.
Driving safely requires all your concentration, your eyes on the road and zero distractions.
Ask your passengers to be quiet if you’re having difficulty concentrating while behind the wheel.
Take a break rather than eat while driving.
And put that phone in the glovebox, backseat or boot so you won’t even be tempted to answer it.
Recognise what makes you distracted and adjust your driving habits accordingly.
Being distracted while driving might not have an impact on you this time, but what about the bike rider you just cut off, or the give way sign you missed?
When you’re on the road, your actions have an impact on everyone around you. Next time, the person affected could be you.
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