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Dear Kenyans Avoid Deadly Distractions Behind the Wheel.

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It’s in every drivers mind that at the end of the day he will go back to his/her family safe and sound having accomplished that day’s tasks. And likewise what every business owner wants to see that employees get safely to the jobsite or that cargo or products or pizza are safely delivered to their customers. Every year, distracted driving becomes a bigger barrier in the way of that goal.To my simple understanding the primary task of anyone behind the steering wheel of a car or truck is to safely control that vehicle on and off the highway. However too often we see a news report that starts with something like, “This morning’s fatal accident on the inbound highway was caused when a distracted driver…” or “reckless driver was overtaking…”

Driver distraction is anything that diverts the driver’s attention away from the driving task onto another activity. Many people have a limited definition of “distracted driving”: They think it only means texting, mobiling and sleeping behind the wheel. As a society, we are becoming more aware of motor accidents and the need to help those who suffer from it. However, even though we are making progress in reducing the stigma surrounding this condition, it remains an invisible problem,  as is in many cases people don’t get to learn the way to solve this. They will be quick to shout arrest the rogue driver and police do this do that and even the authorities are blamed for lack on comprehensive inspection of the vehicles. I recently read post suggesting that a driver speed of a police stop causing panic among passengers. Are most drivers prone to mental illness because of their jobs?Driving is stressful, sitting on traffic for long hours on the road and adherence to tight /strict office and schools timings can be deadly as well. Isolation while driving can exacerbate symptoms or can cause difficulties, all while creating a situation where drivers may struggle to form closer support networks. In addition, the near-misses on the road coupled with challenges in eating healthfully and getting exercise can mean issues such as depression can impact truck drivers disproportionately.

Today am not interested with truck drivers, however my attention is drawn to the fact that more than ever before Nairobians are turning their steering wheels into dining tables just to safe time or be on time. Dashing in and out of fast foods, with snacks in their hands straight to their cars, or worse still grabbing that morning breakfast to enjoy it in traffic. However it is important to note the law does not forbid it in many of the British colonies or those who drive on the simple rule of “keep left”. According to the studies, people who use cell phones while driving do have more crashes and close calls when compared with other motorists, but cell phones do not seem to have an impact on overall collision risks.

The problem, according to researchers, is distracted driving itself and not cell phone use in particular. Consider the fact that those who are texting or using a cell phone may slow down or engage in other activities to reduce the risk of crashing. Drivers who are not on cell phones, however, are not necessarily safer because they are more likely to take part in other distractions – such as eating, talking with passengers, or smoking – when compared with drivers who use mobile devices. There’s good reason for that, because texting requires visual, manual and cognitive attention – the same attention required for safe driving. But although texting is perhaps the most dangerous distraction, there are many others that can impact how you drive, whether you realize it or not. And they can be just as deadly any type of distraction can lead to a collision, including:

Talking on the phone

Speaking with passengers

Eating.

Adjusting car temperature or other components/ stereos

Setting or looking at the GPS or other display

Looking at billboards, a collision, or something else on the road

Grooming or applying makeup

Reading/ Checking a map

Anything that takes the driver’s mind off driving, their hands off the wheel, or their eyes off the road can cause a collision. Unfortunately, legislators have focused only on mobile device use in part due to past studies and in part because it is possible to legislate and enforce such laws. Trying to get a law passed against daydreaming and driving, for example, would be impossible.

Eat before you leave, or after you get there: Scarfing down that burger with one hand on the wheel means your focus is divided – and you probably don’t have as much control over your car as you should. Bonus benefit: Keeping your meals and your driving separate means you’re much less likely to get ketchup on your pants.

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