Too many automobile drivers and passengers lose their lives on American roads each year, especially during the summer and holiday season. Most of us have heard of at least one man, woman, teenager or child who was killed or badly injured in a car accident, and it is always a reminder of how vulnerable we all are when we are traveling on the roads. With each year the number of vehicles increases, as well as the number of ways to become distracted.

According to Jeff Larson, Director of the Massachusetts Highway Safety Division, “distracted driving is fast becoming one of the leading causes of injury and death on the state’s roads. By using data, local and State police will be able to pinpoint where these crashes are occurring and focus their patrols in those areas. Distracted drivers put their passengers, other motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists in danger and the destruction they cause is preventable; these are crashes, not accidents.”

Two kinds of distraction are:

  1. Manual
  2. Cognitive


Manual distraction is the use of devices such as cell phones while driving. Reading a text might seem to take several seconds, but in that time you have your eyes off the road someone in front of you can put on their left blinker to make a turn, then come to a stop while waiting for oncoming cars to pass. You suddenly look up and thankfully your reflexes kick in and you slam on your brakes, coming within an inch of slamming into the back of their car. You breathe a sigh of relief and reflect on how reading that text could have caused an accident. This time you dodged the bullet; next time you might not be so lucky.


Maybe you had a hard day at the office and the boss wasn’t happy with your work. You ruminate on what he or she said to you and the more you sit in traffic, the angrier you become. Not only did you have a lousy day, now this slow commute won’t let you escape from the stress. You hope that your wife was able to take the kids to their game, because you won’t make it home in time to take them. Someone tries to squeeze into your lane and you gesture your disapproval – How dare they! Their car is within an inch of yours as you vie for position. You relent, realizing that stress is pushing you too far and you have to get a grip!

Remember, you are IN CONTROL. You are in control of your driving. You are in control of getting home in one piece, provided that you stay focused. While you can’t control other drivers, you can be alert to what is going on around you so that your reaction will be quick and safe. While life throws stuff at you that you can’t control, one thing is for sure. YOU are in control of staying alive and well on the roadway so that your loved ones can see you arrive home today.