In Northeastern Wisconsin, promoting road safety is a priority we all share. While the challenge of distracted driving persists, there’s plenty of opportunity for positive change. Matthews Tire is an advocate for safe driving practices, and in this blog, Menasha Manager Sean Brucks shares insights to help drivers across our region make informed choices behind the wheel.

Statistics and Facts

Despite Wisconsin laws to prevent distracted driving, one in five crashes in our state involves it. Zero in Wisconsin, a state program with a vision of zero preventable traffic deaths, frames distracted driving this way: If you’re going 55 miles per hour and get distracted for less than 5 seconds, you’ve traveled the length of an entire football field without paying attention. Sadly, distracted driving can result in injuries, fatalities and substantial economic costs.

“We don’t do vehicle body or collision work at Matthews, but distracted driving is definitely a concern to our team,” Sean shared. “We have multiple vehicles that come in where the customer hit a curb or ran something over, yet they don’t always know how it happened. That could definitely be attributed to distracted driving.”

Types of Distractions

Understanding the various forms of distractions can help develop effective prevention strategies. Visual distractions, such as glancing at a phone screen or scenery, divert a driver’s eyes from the road. Manual distractions, like reaching for objects or adjusting controls, compromise control of the vehicle. Meanwhile, cognitive distractions, including daydreaming or engaging in intense conversations, divert attention from driving tasks, heightening the risk of accidents.

Sean remarked, “With two teenage drivers in my family, keeping the focus on the road is something I’m always addressing.”

Technological Solutions

Advancements in technology offer promising avenues for reducing distracted driving incidents. From smartphone apps that block notifications while driving to in-car systems that facilitate hands-free communication, there are numerous tools available to help drivers stay focused on the road ahead.

The most obvious thing is, don’t go on your phone when driving,” Sean said.

If you’re struggling to ignore phone notifications, Sean recommends keeping your phone in the glove box when driving.

Celebrating Progress

Awareness campaigns by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and community initiatives have helped shine a light on the issue, sparking conversations and inspiring action. By recognizing the range of distractions and their potential consequences, individuals can make informed decisions behind the wheel.

“It may sound simplistic, but slow down,” Sean said. “Things happen so fast and everyone is in such a hurry. Give yourself more time to make a decision.”

Proactive Steps

Sean pointed out that preventable distractions extend beyond cell phones and car controls. “It’s a good idea to stay ahead of your vehicle’s service and maintenance,” he reminded, which is where the technicians at Matthews Tire shine. “Then you can keep your focus where it matters most – on the road."

By understanding the types of driving distractions, embracing technological solutions and taking proactive steps, we can all drive toward a future where every journey is marked by safety and responsibility.

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