Distracted Driving

Tips for Dealing with Distracted Drivers

Written by Karen Bowman

driver-female-makeupWhen you see distracted driving happening all around you, it can make your blood boil, your fingers clench and that little blood vessel in your temple pulse….all signs that you may be about to become a part of the problem while trying to solve it.

Distracted drivers are a threat to us all, but reacting emotionally or worse yet, engaging in road rage is NOT the answer. It’s important to make sure that safety remains your priority; often that means taking the necessary defensive driving steps to keep yourself safe by carefully avoiding the other driver(s).

Years ago, I bought my Dad this cool electronic gadget for his car. It simulated four different sounds to ‘attack’ bad drivers…machine gun fire, missiles, and other audible ways of expressing displeasure with misbehaving drivers. Knowing my Dad, it’s probably still tucked away in his office. At the time, it seemed like a harmless, even comical, way of dealing with bad drivers.

focus-driver-ironicWith more experience and increased maturity, my approach has evolved. There’s a greater awareness about each drivers’ responsibility to not become a part of the problem while trying to deal with OTHER drivers’ actions.

So, want to know the right way to deal with distracted drivers? Here’s what some industry experts have to say:

You can’t be part of the problem in an attempt to report the problem. Try to remember the info and report non emergency later. Lead by example, never do it yourself. End calls if you can tell people are driving, don’t email or text people you know are mobile.” – Sgt Tim Burrows, Retired Toronto Police Traffic Twitter

The ONLY thing I use is the GPS on my dash board, my phone is turned OFF.” – Raymond E. Foster, Retired LAPD Lieutenant Twitter

Dealing with a distracted driver can be a difficult venture. You should never attempt to get their attention while driving or else you, too, will be distracted; two distracted drivers are worse than one.

That being said, if their driving behavior is threatening someone else’s life, pull over when safe to do so and call 911 to report it. You should report it to police with time and license plate number.

If you are in a car being driven by a distracted driver, ask them to stop what they are doing and keep their attention on the road. But, avoid arguing with the driver as an argument is also a potentially dangerous distraction.”  – Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) Twitter

driver-female-phone-ice-creamOne day, just minutes from home, my young son and I were nearly run off the road by a texting driver who continued to text after the incident…completely unaffected by the near collision! Was I upset, YES! Was I shaken, YES! But, staying calm allowed me to memorize the licence plate, colour and model of the car along with a brief description of the driver.  Once safely home, I called it in to the RCMP; their response was helpful and swift, with notices going out to local units to look for this dangerous driver.

Contrary to the belief of some, the goal is not to ruin that woman’s day by having an officer pull her over or pay a visit to her front door. But, better that type of visit from an officer than the possible alternative should her dangerous driving hurt or kill someone…perhaps even her.

How do you keep yourself safe around distracted drivers?

Originally posted in 2013. Updated & re-posted.

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