Maintain focus on driving

How would you react if you were riding in an automobile and the driver frequently closed both eyes for two seconds at a time? We think you would ask the driver to stop — either the dangerous habit or the vehicle, so you could get out.

Now, stop and think how long your eyes are off the road — and your attention is on something other than driving — when switching channels on the radio, changing CDs, grabbing a bite from a drive-through meal or adjusting the climate control.

A motor vehicle traveling at 35 mph covers 51 feet every second. At 55 mph, it travels 80 feet. Now consider how much space you typically allow between your front bumper and the rear of the vehicle ahead.

April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and the Ohio State Highway Patrol is reminding drivers to keep their eyes and minds focused on driving.

Last year, the patrol reported, nearly 14,000 motor vehicle accidents in Ohio had a reported distraction. From 2016 to 2017, the number of fatal crashes due to distracted drivers nearly doubled, to 51.

“Every time someone takes their eyes or their minds off the road — even for just a few seconds — they put their lives and the lives of others in danger,” Lt. Brent Meredith, commander of the Fremont Post, stated. “Distracted driving is unsafe and irresponsible. In a split second, its consequences can be devastating.”

State law bans use of electronic communication devices by drivers younger than 18. Texting while driving is a secondary offense for drivers of all ages.

Distractions have three forms: visual, taking eyes off the road; manual, taking hands off the wheel; and cognitive, taking the mind off driving. Some activities — texting, for example — involve all three.

Distracted driving is simple to prevent. Keep your eyes on the road, your hands on the wheel and your mind on driving.