Trooper Tips: a call to action, part 3

RBC | Over the past two months I’ve talked about crashes over the 2018 holiday season which took nine lives in seven crashes during a 72 hour period.  We touched on the topic of mixing drinking, drugs and driving. Now let’s look at two of the most common ones we deal with every day: distracted driving and aggressive driving.

Driving a vehicle is an important endeavor.  I think too often drivers become complacent with this task.  Anytime a driver diverts their attention from watching the road, or the surrounding area, there is a greater potential for disaster.

It comes down to a simple rule; there is no good time to be messing with your phone or anything else in the car when it’s moving.   That quick moment taken to tune the radio, or grab the burger you just picked up at the drive through is often just enough to miss something important.

At just 45 MPH, you are traveling at approximately 66 feet per second.  That goes up to 88 feet per second when traveling 60 MPH.  That is a large distance to be driving with the equivalency of having your eyes closed.  Too often we believe since nothing bad happened the last time, it won’t happen this time.  So when things go as we expect them, we are prone to becoming complacent.  With complacency, comes the possibility of dire consequences.  This means watch the roads and the people around you at all times so we won’t have crashes that were preventable.

Another reason for crashes, especially over the past holiday, is aggressive driving.  I know when driving in my personal vehicle, I am often amazed to see a driver speeding past me, failing to signal, and zipping in-between cars trying to go somewhere in a hurry.  At times I’ve seen the drivers so close to the bumper of the car in front of them, it is only a matter of a soft brake and the two may crash.  The part that interests me the most about this though, is I usually catch up to the person, due to red lights, or congested traffic even though I’m going the speed limit and not speeding.

The amount of time gained from speeding or trying to pass other vehicles is usually minute at best.  Don’t gamble on the idea that you won’t hit someone.  Ask anyone after they had a crash, if they thought they were going to hit someone, and they would say they didn’t plan on that happening.

So please, take away the distractions and slow your traveling to a safe speed with plenty of space between cars.  A day without any crashes is a good day!

As always, safe travels!

By Trooper Gary Cutler | Colorado State Patrol