We’ve all been there — seeing a cool car drive by, having a serious conversation with a passenger, getting lost in a really good audible book, or we pull into the driveway at home and realize we’re not sure how we got there. This is distracted driving. It’s not just texting while driving, pulling up directions on your phone, talking on the phone, or scrolling through Facebook. Even though using our phones is most likely the biggest cause of distracted driving, there are many other things that can take our attention from the most important task: driving.
Pacific Driver Education is passionate about protecting every driver on the road, all of the passengers, and even all the dogs in the cars! We offer a range of driving lessons for teens and adults alike to help drivers learn the rules of the road, how to be a confident driver, how to recognize distracted driving, and how to avoid it.
Potential Penalties For Distracted Driving
As of October 1, 2017, Oregon passed a Distracted Driving law that states that “It is illegal to drive while holding or using a mobile electronic device (e.g. cell phone, tablet, GPS, laptop).” Offenders of this law could face:
- Up to $1,000 fine for a first offense that doesn’t cause a crash.
- Up to $2,500 fine for a second offense, or a first offense that caused a crash.
- A third offense in 10 years could result in six months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.
Tips for Staying Focused on the Road
Train Your Brain
With our busy, non-stop lives, we try to train our brain to multitask, but texting and driving may be the most deadly multitasking habit ever. Driving involves looking at road signs, watching for other drivers, keeping an eye on your speed, steering, breaking, and so much more — when you add texting, talking to a passenger, unwrapping a fast food burger, holding a cigarette, and trying to catch an exit at the same time, this will result in disaster. Instead, train your brain to focus on the road.
Take Away In-Car Distractions
There are countless distractions that can occur inside the car other than your phone. The rolling water bottle on the floor, the crack in your windshield, talk show hosts arguing about the news of the day, kids throwing toys at each other — even though it may not be possible to eliminate all of the distractions, do your best to take away what you know can lead to the biggest distractions.
There are several methods for keeping your mind focused, such as naming an animal for every letter in the alphabet, make a game of memorizing your shopping list, and singing. Whatever game or method you choose, the point is to keep your mind active. When your mind wanders, it’s harder to come back to what you should be focusing on.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
One of the most difficult tasks is driving when you’re straining to stay awake. When you’re able to get a full night’s sleep, it will give your body the energy it needs to prevent fatigue. If you are having trouble staying awake at the wheel, do not hesitate to pull over and rest.
Waiving the Distracted Driving Fine
It’s important to understand that, even though our mobile devices are most likely the most dangerous in the car, distractions come in many forms. If you have been convicted of driving while distracted, Pacific Driver Education offers a Distracted Driving Avoidance Course. If you successfully complete the course, the penalty fine may be waived. Learn more about the course and contact Pacific Driver Education in Gresham, OR for driving lessons and more.