Any commuter in Austin can tell you, there are a lot of cars on the road. According to Governing.com, an estimated 8.7 percent of U.S. households are without cars and in Austin, that number is 6 percent.
Capital Metro operators do an amazing job of navigating the chaos of morning and afternoon traffic, not to mention the maze of construction projects underway across the region. Complicating their daily treks are the number of distracted drivers who see traffic jams as an opportunity to answer a text or squeeze in one more email response.
During National Safety Month, we’d like to offer some tips for our fellow drivers to help them keep their eyes on the road and their head in the game.
- Don’t text and drive. This seems like a no-brainer. In 2017, Texas banned texting while driving, but it still happens. People use voice commands to compose texts as a way to get around that, but it still requires mental focus that could be better spent on driving.
- Operate hands-free. Sometimes you need a map to get where you’re going, and you have apps to skirt traffic snarls. But put it in a holder. City ordinance requires you operate your phone hands-free.
- Use “do-not-disturb.” Nearly every operating system comes with the option to place the phone in “do-not-disturb” mode when you’re driving. It sends a message to anyone trying to text you, letting them know that you will get back to them once you have stopped. It’s a great feature and one worth using as no text is worth crashing over.
- Silence your cell phone. If your phone is your life, silence it when driving. Or better yet, put it out of reach. One glance at a screen or moment scrambling for a phone can have devastating, life-long effects.
It’s imperative to consider your own safety, the safety of those riding with you and those around you every time you get behind the wheel. Everyone you encounter on the road has a lot riding on safety.