Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Dangers of RV Distracted Driving by Ashley Burns, guest blogger

The following post is by Ashley Burns, a guest blogger, and is not copyrighted by Thomas E Williams.

The Dangers of RV Distracted Driving

Although distracted driving is dangerous for all drivers, individuals who are behind the wheel of an RV need to be especially cautious.  Even experienced RV drivers should realize that RVs require different handling than regular cars, so a small distraction can have a big consequence.  Each day, more than 15 people are killed and more than 1,200 people are injured in crashes that were reported to involve a distracted driver.  Since RVs are used for long travel times, drivers may be more tempted to engage in behavior that’s distracting and could cause a serious accident.

Many people seem to be aware of the dangers of using a cell phone or texting behind the wheel, but any activity that diverts a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving is considered distracted driving, according to the Official U.S. Government website.  Eating, drinking, adjusting controls, and reaching for objects can take the drivers hand off the wheel or eyes off the road, thus increasing the risk of an accident.

Due to the size of RVs, making adjustments on the road is typically prolonged.  For example, braking is different, especially if someone is towing a trailer.  Heavy vehicles pick up speed on down slopes faster than lighter cars, so paying attention to the road is key.  RV drivers often have to deal with more distraction, as passengers tend to be talking, watching television, eating and playing cards, all of which can take the driver’s attention off of the road.  Drivers may want to eat behind the wheel, but eating while driving causes 80 percent of all car accidents.  Adjusting the GPS or even sipping a drink can likewise compromise safety.

Only 39 states have enacted laws against distracted driving, and those that do not have any are starting to take action.  Tampa held Florida’s first distracted driving summit to address issues such as traumatic injuries, teen driving education, and cell phone policies.  New laws could decrease the number of statewide and Tampa personal injury cases, serious medical complications, and lost lives due to automobile accidents.

Since RV drivers are handling some of the biggest vehicles on the road, it’s crucial that they give their full attention to the road ahead and the drivers around them.  Long travel times may cause temptation to eat behind the wheel, adjust the GPS, and reach for nearby objects.  But it’s important to take breaks at rest stops or switch drivers to ensure that drivers and families reach their destination safely.  Keep hands on the wheel and eyes on the road to reduce the number of accidents and help save lives.

Originally posted 2013 February 07

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