Leave your phone alone while you’re driving. (submitted)

Editorial: Block out the distractions when you’re driving

I just need to quickly take this call. Traffic is moving slowly anyway.

I just need to quickly take this call. Traffic is moving slowly anyway.

If you ever find yourself thinking this when you’re behind the wheel, stop and give your head a shake. This is the very definition of distracted driving. The police can give you a ticket for it.

But truly, whether the police are in sight or not, it’s not the potential fine you should be worried about, but the possible ultimate consequences if you ignore the warning voice inside your head and go ahead and do it anyway.

According to Quick Statistics published by ICBC, about nine people die on Vancouver Island every year due to distracted driving. That’s right: die.

Is it worth your life, or the life of someone else? One would think the answer to that question is perfectly obvious, and yet, here we are, starting down the statistics that prove it’s not so obvious to far too many people. And the statistics only cover fatalities. It’s likely that far more people suffer injuries in crashes caused by distracted driving.

To give the numbers a bit more perspective: that fatality average for distracted driving is exactly the same as the average number of deaths caused each year by impaired drivers on Vancouver Island in the past five years.

Many distracted drivers we’ve seen over the years have also paired their distraction with other dangerous driving habits, such as speeding and tailgating. We’ve all seen these folks on the road, whipping by slower vehicles, cell phone to the ear as they approach an intersection, or even with eyes firmly planted on the phone in their hand. This ups the danger factor even further.

It’s never a bad idea to remind ourselves that when we get into our vehicles the only thing we should be thinking about is driving. Driving is both a privilege and a big responsibility that we should all take seriously.