Photo courtesy of AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

VIDEO: A Distracted Driving Epidemic

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and the National Safety Council is urging all drivers to take the focused-driver challenge and pledge to drive free of all cell phone use.

Through a special website, drivers can dedicate their pledge to someone special to them. 

This week’s safety tip includes that pledge:

I pledge to Take Back My Drive for my own safety and for others with whom I share the roads. I choose to not drive distracted in any way. I will not:

  • Have a phone conversation — handheld, hands-free, or via Bluetooth
  • Text or send Snapchats
  • Use voice-to-text features in my vehicle’s dashboard system
  • Update Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vimeo, Vine or other social media
  • Check or send emails
  • Take selfies or film videos
  • Input destinations into GPS (while the vehicle is in motion)
  • Call or message someone else when I know they are driving.

As part of Distracted Driving Awareness Month, many local police agencies are stepping up enforcement efforts and spreading the word about the dangers of distracted driving in all of its forms. To view a video about one such campaign, click on the photo or link below the headline.

Here are some more tips from AAA to help drivers avoid distractions:

  • Store loose gear, possessions and other distractions that could roll around in the vehicle, so you don't feel tempted to reach for them on the floor or the seat.
  • Make adjustments before you begin your trip. Address vehicle systems such as GPS, seats, mirrors, climate controls and sound systems before hitting the road. Decide on your route and check traffic conditions ahead of time.
  • Finish dressing and personal grooming at home — before you get on the road.
  • Eat meals or snacks before or after your trip, not while driving. 
  • Secure any children and pets before your trip begins. If they need your attention, pull off the road safely to care for them. Reaching into the backseat can cause you to lose control of the vehicle.
  • If you have passengers, enlist their help so you can focus safely on driving.
  • If another activity demands your attention, pull off the road and stop your vehicle in a safe place. 
  • As a general rule, if you cannot devote your full attention to driving because of some other activity, it’s a distraction. Take care of it before or after your trip, not while behind the wheel.