National Safety Month: Staying Safe While Driving
June 21, 2021
What do you live for? Is spending time with family and friends what motivates you to get out of bed every morning? Maybe you thrive off the opportunity to explore new cities and countries. Whatever inspires you to get up and get moving every day, engaging in safe behaviors helps you live for the things you value most.
Every June, the National Safety Council (NSC) hosts National Safety Month. Willamette Valley Medical Center (WVMC) is proud to join this movement by keeping safety a priority at our hospital and also encouraging our community to make safety a priority. One area NSC is emphasizing is transportation safety.
As you may imagine, hospitals see the scary results of reckless driving when victims of car accidents come through the emergency room doors. This summer, we want to help make our community healthier by reminding you to be safe and alert in the car in order to stay out of the emergency room.
“As you hit the road this summer for vacation, or as you continue through your daily routine, we want you to remember that staying healthy goes far beyond the healthcare setting,” said Crystal Lacey, nurse leader at WVMC. “Staying healthy means making safe and smart lifestyle choices, be it choosing not to text and drive, choosing to exercise regularly, or choosing not to smoke.”
Did you know?
At 55 miles per hour, sending or reading a text is like driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed.
Here are a few tips, courtesy of the NSC, that will help keep you and your family safer on the roads and also protect other drivers:
On the road, off the phone. Every day about 8 people in the United States are killed in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver. Before you hit the road, put your cell phone in a purse, trunk, or glove compartment so you aren’t tempted to answer calls, send texts, or check emails. When possible, designate a passenger to answer the phone if you are expecting a call. If you need to check email, voicemail, or texts, pull over.
Get plenty of rest. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 5,000 to 8,000 people are killed each year in crashes involving drowsy drivers. Do not get behind the wheel if you are tired or have taken medications that may cause drowsiness. To stay alert during your drive, take a nap before you leave or pull over and take a “power nap” if you start to feel sleepy. If you are traveling with a companion, switch places every couple of hours and schedule breaks to get out and stretch your legs.
Protect new drivers. The NSC states that nearly half of all teens will be involved in a car crash before graduating from high school. Parents can significantly reduce their teens’ risk of crashing with a few simple steps:
- Practice driving with your teenager. Find at least 30 minutes each week, and let your child practice with you in the car.
- Have your teen sign a New Driver Deal, a short agreement that encourages him or her to adopt safe driving habits. The New Driver Deal can be downloaded at DriveitHOME.org.
- Limit the number of passengers allowed in the car with your child and limit nighttime driving, as darkness lowers visibility and increases the risk of a crash.
To learn more about National Safety Council, visit www.nsc.org.