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4/20/21blog post

tips to stay safe on the road this summer

distracted mom, driving, textingThe sun is out and summer is coming! For those of you with summer travel plans, let’s make sure you get there safely. Although traveling may not be the same this year, the consequences from distracted driving remain. “We saw 461 injuries related to motor vehicle crashes in 2020 at Dayton Children’s Hospital. Reducing distraction is one way to prevent these injuries,” says Alexa Wene, injury prevention coordinator for child passenger safety at Dayton Children’s. 

Most people perceive themselves as good drivers, yet in 2019 alone, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) 3,142 people were killed due to distracted driving. Locally, the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission reports from 2017 to 2019 there was one fatal crash every five days in the Dayton region. It’s easy to become distracted while driving but it can quickly turn into a fatal situation. Taking your eyes off the road for even five seconds amounts to driving the entire length of a football field with your eyes closed. 

Distracted driving not only impacts you; it impacts your friends, family and community.

What is considered distracted driving? The Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers distracted driving as “any activity that takes the driver’s attention away from driving. Distracted driving includes cell phone use and other activities such as eating, talking to other passengers, or adjusting radio or climate controls.” 

Main types of distracted driving:

  • Taking your eyes off the road
  • Taking your hands off the steering wheel
  • Taking your mind off driving

While many states have laws in place to reduce distracted driving, it is still a major public health concern. Here are some tips from Safe Kids Worldwide that you can take with you while traveling this summer:

  • Keep an eye out for distracted pedestrians and drivers who may not be paying attention to you, especially when backing out of parking spaces.
  • Remind your teen driver to be extra alert.
  • Make sure you are not distracted while driving. Commit to keeping your phone down. No text message or play list is worth the risk.

Furthermore, we also want to make sure we are safe in the car before we travel. Safe Kids offers these tips before traveling this summer:

  • Car seat check - is your child’s car seat installed correctly? In 2018, Dayton Children’s saw a car seat misuse rate of 83%. If you do not know or are concerned about your child’s car seat installation, make an appointment to get it checked.
  • Car check - make sure to get your car checked for any safety issues before you start the drive.
  • Emergency preparedness - make sure you are prepared for any weather emergencies. Pack extra blankets, food and water, and diapers. Keep your cell phone charged, and make sure someone knows your route.

Use this travel safety tip sheet from Dayton Children’s before heading out for any summer traveling. Stay safe and enjoy the summer season!