Buckle Up, Phone Down this Holiday

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    As millions of Virginians get set to celebrate the holiday season, including Christmas and New Year’s Eve, drivers are being reminded to avoid dangerous distractions and concentrate on the task of driving. “Avoiding distractions when driving is really very simple,” said Janet Brooking, Executive Director of DRIVE SMART Virginia. “When drivers turn their phones off, focus on driving and the expected increase in traffic, they make Virginia’s roadways much safer.”

    Consider these facts:

    • Texting and driving increases your chance for a crash 23 times.
    • Talking on the phone while driving decreases brain activity associated with driving by 37%.
    • 51% of drivers admit that their driving has been compromised by eating or drinking.

    When families travel during the holidays they’re often driving to visit friends or relatives and end up in unfamiliar areas. “Missing a stop sign because you’re distracted could be deadly,” Brooking said. “Families are safer when drivers plan ahead, program the GPS before driving and let passengers give directions.”

    One of the most common types of crashes is being rear-ended or rear-ending another driver. Here are some tips to avoid common collisions.

    • Always leave 3 to 4 seconds of distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you, if roads are slick, double the distance.
    • Constantly scan the roadway ahead for stopped traffic or other trouble.
    • Keep an eye on your speed, the faster you’re driving the less time you have to react.

    Finally, if you’re planning to attend a holiday party where there might be alcohol plan ahead and choose a designated driver. In Virginia in 2011, 245 people were killed and 5,465 people were injured in alcohol related crashes.

    For more information please contact Rob Richardson, Public Relations and Outreach Manager at DRIVE SMART Virginia (804) 929-2988.