Kira Hudson of Indiana told her story to the Indianapolis Star newspaper about an incident that happened to her in 2005. She was arguing with her boyfriend on the other end of her phone as she drove her SUV down a deserted road. The argument was intense, more important than where she was going.
With her phone still in her hand, Kira spotted a squirrel on the road and jerked the wheel to avoid the animal. But it was the wrong move. The vehicle twisted onto its side and slid off the road into a row of trees. The trees crushed the roof of the SUV. Kira survived the crash but lost her phone — and the use of her legs. She will be in a wheelchair the rest of her life.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reports that in 2018, nearly 3,000 people were killed in car accidents in the U.S. caused by distracted driving. Anything that takes your eyes off the road or breaks your concentration on controlling your vehicle is a distraction: eating, talking to someone else, and most significantly, texting. Reading or composing a typical text distracts you from driving for 5 seconds. The NHTSA says, “At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.” …and you may be driving faster than that.
There is a ban on texting while driving in most states (including all six of the states in the Hastings Mutual coverage area). Illinois and several other states ban using handheld devices while driving. There are also fines if you’re stopped for distracted driving, most starting around $100.
What can you do to prevent a distracted driving situation?
It’s easy to forget how much you need to focus when you’re driving. Yes, you need to get a lot done every day, but multi-tasking behind the wheel is not a way to do it. You can drive or you can text — you can’t do both.
Questions? Let us know in the comments.
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