Driving is statistically one of the most dangerous activities that you will do all day. As a professional race car driver, I can say with 100% confidence that I am one of the “best” drivers of a car. However, I put “best” in quotations because I can be the best driver in the world and still be prone to, like everyone else, distraction and a false sense of “multitasking.” Driving on a public road isn’t about how “good” you are as a driver; it is about how aware and focused you are to things changing in front of you. Remember that you are sharing the road with millions of other cars and moving truck drivers every day, and by driving distracted, or fast, or while intoxicated, you are putting millions of other people at risk.
Safe Driving Solutions
I feel safer on the racetrack at speeds of 140 mph with 30+ cars competing for first place than on the road. Because no one would dare LOOK DOWN while driving, people are more aware of their surroundings and are focused 100% of the time. I hope that we can make it a summer goal to power off our phones when you get in the car. If you think you have what it takes to drive distracted, you are wrong. I encourage everyone to watch some of the winners of the Project Yellow Light video scholarship contest, if you need further convincing.
- Friends don’t let friends text and drive.
- Designate a texter.
- Turn the music down – driving while listening to excessively loud music can create distraction and an increased heart rate which might lead to speeding
- Groom at home – the car isn’t a place for makeup application or shaving
- Don’t eat and drive – if it is absolutely necessary to eat in your car, pull over. 5 or 10 minutes stopped might just save your life.
- Always be alert – long summer nights hanging with your friends, or longer road trips may cause drowsiness. If you start to nod off while driving, pull over and rest. Rest stops were created for a reason!
- Tell people that you are driving before you leave – if there isn’t anyone to text, then there isn’t any reason for you to pick up your phone!
- Drive with a clear mind – emotions are powerful and can often cause you to make decisions that you wouldn’t otherwise make
Have you witnessed the effects of distracted driving? Do you have any tips for staying safe this summer? Share your stories in the comments below!
About the Author
Ben Albano currently races in the Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Pro Challenge, within the 2015 SCCA Pro-Racing Battery Tender MAZDA MX-5 Cup. He was the 2014 MAZDASPEED Pro Challenge runner up, the 2013 MAZDASPEED Challenge Summer Series Champion and was named Rookie of the Year in the 2012 MAZDASPEED Challenge Summer Series. Ben is enrolled at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill currently double majoring in Music Performance and Journalism. Well-known in his community as an advocate for raising awareness of the dangers of distracted driving, Ben is actively engaged with Project Yellow Light, a non-profit organization that tries to save lives on the street by promoting safe driving. When not racing in cars or on skis, Ben plays second trombone in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Wind Ensemble and Jazz Ensemble.