Armor up…

So, here is a sobering fact, it has been over 12 years since Texas roads have been fatality free. With over 80,000 miles of roads and a population of about 25 million it doesn’t diminish the situation.

This morning on my way home from the gym I was hitting peak traffic/commute hours and I witnessed two incidents of what I call inconsiderate and stupid driving acts. One occurred at a four way stop, I watched a lady talking on her cell phone ignore the law and drive through the stop sign directly behind the car in front of her. Much to the displeasure of the cars around her. I mean really, how much time did she actually save waiting her turn. More importantly, what lead her to believe her commute to work was any more important than those she shares the road with? Who knows, but the fact is you will have to deal with stupid people like this person on a daily basis.

Folks need to armor up before they hit the roads, metaphorically speaking of course. Road fatalities are real, they are more common than you think and in a matter of seconds they can alter the lives of so many people. So, what’s the first thing you should do to help armor up. Leave early! I know that sucks, but believe me arriving early to your destination is not a big deal and the benefits are a mindset where rational thought is in the driver’s seat. When we are rushed we take more risks, risks that we probably wouldn’t take under normal conditions.

Eliminating distractions would be next. I use to think that I could take advantage of my commute by returning or making calls. Sure, you can, but realize that even if you leave 15 minutes early, talking on the phone is still a distraction. At the very least use a “hands free” device; keep both hands and both eyes on the road. I’ve changed my mind as I grow wiser and now I limit calls to important and emergency only.

Don’t even get me started regarding texting. I believe that texting is the greatest distraction and therefore the greatest danger to all drivers. Taking your eyes off the road even for a few seconds is like driving blind. Does that sound like a good idea? Hopefully not, so the next time you see someone texting and driving, consider the fact they have their eyes closed and completely unaware of their surroundings. Again, pretty stupid.

Drive defensively. I hate to say it, but assume that those are around you are going to do stupid things. Always be on the alert, the more warning you have to an impending situation the greater your chances of navigating through it. Keep your head on a swivel, look for drivable terrain, maintain a good buffer with other vehicles and NEVER stop driving the vehicle.

So even at a time of unprecedented improvements in automobile safety road fatalities are still too high. Armor up when you hit the roads.