November 27, 2013

Driving is an important aspect of many of our lives and often we take for granted the responsibility we have as drivers. Distractions are increasing with the use of mobile smart phones, texting, tweeting, and checking out our new matches on "Tinder." We check our email, view our Facebook wall, and even shop online; all from the palm of our hands. Hands that should be grasping the steering wheel to your thousand pound four-wheeled missile.

"It's simple, just drive" according to RCPD Spokesperson Mat Droge, the facilitator of the department's social media and #TwitterCop, when asked about distracted driving in the Manhattan and Riley County area.

There are many campaigns that have attempted to reduce distracted driving around the country and unfortunately this type of dangerous driving still occurs. Even at relatively low speeds this behavior could have fatal results as well as cause all those involved unnecessary stress. Distracted driving is 100 percent avoidable and relies on all of us holding ourselves accountable. 

Did you know that a vehicle traveling on Bluemont Ave. at the posted speed limit of 30 miles per hour, is traveling at approximately 44 feet per second. An average text can take approximately 3 seconds to send, which means if sending that text while driving you have traveled around 132 feet without looking at the road. Would it be wise to travel a third of a city block with your eyes closed? 

Whether it's a text or a tweet, remember that nothing on your phone is more important than the safety of yourself and others while on the road. For more information on this topic and to watch a documentary about distracted driving we have included a list of tips as well as "From One Second to the Next," a documentary about texting and driving created by acclaimed filmmaker Werner Herzog included at the bottom of this article.

Tips to help you avoid distracted driving...

Leave your phone in your pocket or book bag while driving. If your vehicle is equipped with a Bluetooth device, you won't miss a call and will be talking and driving in accordance with the Manhattan, Kansas Cell Phone Law.

Talk to friends and family who text and drive and express to them the importance of paying attention to the road while driving. 

Use hands free devices when talking on your phone and make sure to wait until you are no longer driving to send text messages or as an alternate option, have a passenger send these messages for you.

Pull off the road and place your vehicle in park if you find yourself traveling around town and in need of sending a message or checking your email, Facebook messages, or movie times.

Check the RCPD Twitter account prior to leaving your home, school, or work and not during your drive time. We often tweet where we are and what we are doing, but we don't want this to cause an accident. 

Contact police when you observe someone driving distracted and posing a threat to the safety of our roads. Non-emergency calls can be made to 785-537-2112 and when speaking to police on the phone you are not generally in violation of the city law for talking while driving.