Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for 15-20 year olds, and the primary cause for collisions is “driver inattention."
Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin have launched the Just Drive! campaign to educate teens and parents about the dangers of distractions and the importance of safe driving. In a new free brochure entitled “Just Drive! A Manual for Safe Driving,” Dr. John Weigelt, MD, DVM, Chief of the Trauma/Critical Care Surgery unit at the Medical College of Wisconsin, urges teens and parents to drive responsibly.
Dr. Weigelt recommends the following tips for staying focused on the road:
- Hold all calls. Talking on a cell phone, particularly without a hands-free device, is extremely dangerous while driving. Not only is your hand off the steering wheel, your mind is probably elsewhere too.
- Turn the radio down. It doesn’t get any better than listening to great music with great friends, but wait to karaoke until you’re safely at home.
- Slow down. Getting to school, practice or work isn’t a tryout for the Indy 500. Stick to the speed limit, keep at least a car length between your car and the car in front of you and use the mirrors to look at the cars around you, not yourself.
- Plan ahead. Give yourself plenty of time to eat, primp and study before getting behind the wheel, even if it means getting up 15 minutes earlier for school.
- Focus, focus, focus. There are so many other factors that can impair your driving ability — weather, traffic, construction. If you’re focused on the road and the conditions around you, you have a much better chance of avoiding potentially dangerous situations.
- Pickles on the side ... for that burger to go. Too many Americans eat lunch on the go. If you do, plan on eating in the car while parked in a safe parking lot or destination. Eating while driving is not only messy but can be deadly.
- Never — ever — drink and drive. Alcohol alters the mind and your ability to operate a vehicle clearly and safely. The Just Drive! campaign includes a contract that gives kids the permission to call parents for a ride regardless of the time or reason.
Last Review Date: Jan. 26, 2009
Online Editor(s): Christopher Sadler