• Pete

Being Focused While Driving

Updated: 2 days ago

Ask anyone you know and they will tell you that they never would drive distracted. However, the number of collisions and accidents continues rising and many times drivers don’t even remember how the crash began.

Even with all of the latest and greatest vehicle technology that is intended to keep vehicle occupants safe, the number of fatal accidents keeps increasing. I would argue that some of that can be attributed to drivers now having less to think about while driving since a lot of newer cars will check your blind spot and even alert you if you begin to drift from your lane. In my opinion, safety technology in newer cars is actually dangerous in some ways because it allows a driver to not have to think about certain critical aspects of driving. Fully automated vehicles are ideal for safety, but half-automated vehicles (like what we have now) are deceivingly dangerous, and the numbers reflect that.

When it comes to distracted driving, think of a football as your cell phone. You're focused on the ball while the linebacker who is coming to ‘take your head off’ represents another car. This is what happens when you try to catch a ball (or drive distracted) while in traffic. You will end up tuning into or devoting all of your attention to the ball (the phone) and will then become unaware of the dangers around you. The video below illustrates this quite well, and keep in mind that these are humans hitting other humans. Cars hitting humans is a whole other level of trauma. Keep your head on a swivel.

This is what happens when you don’t shoulder check – ‘Biggest, Baddest Football Hits Ever’

Human Factors

Stress - Another huge aspect of distracted driving is stress. Stress ruins everything, including driving. When someone is stressed and they are sitting at a red light waiting for it to change, they will be more likely to make a bad decision and start checking their phone, but if they weren’t stressed it is less likely that they would do that. Good decisions are made when people are not panicked or stressed. It’s always when these unexpected or stressful moments arise that bad things happen. Most people would never drive drunk, but put them in a situation and that could easily change.

Stress factors such as negative mood, and anger, can lead to risky driving situations. Chronic stress is also a dangerous stress type that can affect the driving behavior as it impacts the driver’s physical and mental state.


Why Distracted Driving Campaigns Often Don’t Work

“Over the past decade, there have been many distracted driving campaigns that boil things down to absolutes. “War on distracting driving!” “Put down that phone.” Distracted Driving is a serious problem that is killing thousands of people.”


Halifax ranks last in safe driving study

"In its ninth annual Safe Driving Study, Allstate Canada found Halifax had the highest collision frequency. Halifax has claimed the title of Canadian collision capital for the third year in a row."


Truck vs Pole accident on Larry Uteck in Halifax

The video below is the best I have seen about distracted driving. Instead of using lame one liners or traumatizing photos, this PHD who spends his life studying distracted driving, uses science and data to investigate the root causes of distraction. This is the kind of progressive approach that is needed in order to educate and not scare new drivers into doing or not doing something.

Distraction is literally killing us | Paul Atchley

Dangers of Texting While Driving

Cognitive Distraction - Full Video

Halifax's worst drivers 2016

The Slow Motion Effect

Why Time Slows Down During an Accident – When it is important for our survival, it helps if the outside world slows down so that we have more time to react, to hazards. Because everything seems to slow down in the world, we see and hear more details of what is happening, which leads to the feeling that the event lasted longer than it actually did.

Vision types

Peripheral Vision – It detects movement, masses and shapes

Field of Vision – The 180 degree view in front

Depth Perception – Helps you judge distance

We All Have Mental Health

Nova Scotia Mental Health Resources

Driving while tired is the most dangerous form of impaired driving as the injuries are always more severe.

Why Sleep Matters | Matthew Walker | Talks at Google

The Dunning–Kruger effect

The Dunning–Kruger effect is a hypothetical cognitive bias stating that people with low ability at a task overestimate their own ability, and that people with high ability at a task under estimate their own ability.


Is the Driving Test Harder if you’re Dyslexic?

ADHD Driving Tips & Precautions 🚘⚠️

Below is an example of people who wouldn’t normally drive drunk, but who are then put into a situation where they have to make a decision.

Consequences of bad decisions; The Beaverbank crash


In 2015 there were 4 teens in Beaverbank who were at a house party late at night and needed a ride home. Halifax being Halifax, they couldn’t get a cab. So this situation, which the teens weren’t expecting, presented itself and they had to figure out what to do at 2 a.m. while drunk in the middle of no where. This is how most of these tragic stories start out. Something unexpected presents itself and that’s the key moment when a person needs to make a good decision. ‘Final Destination’ as I call it, is always going to be one bad decision away.

In this case, one of the teens volunteered to drive while drunk and everyone hopped into the car. The car was driven at a high rate of speed, then it flipped multiple times ejecting everyone but the driver. Two people died, a third was severely injured.

Tragedies and the darkness that comes with them cut far deeper than just the victims and their families. The teen who was driving could not live with himself and eventually took his own life. This is very common and of course never reported. These teens did not want to have a tragic night, the driver did not want to kill his friends, but when they were presented with a ‘curve ball’ of a situation they made a bad decision, and Final Destination took over.

Planning ahead for partying and other fun activities is essential. Somewhat like if a motorist was driving down the street and a hazard presents itself, if they have been looking and thinking ahead they will have already been expecting this and will be ready to react to it. And, if I am already driving at a safe speed before encountering the hazard, that makes it easier to react to. But, if I am stressed or distracted and not thinking ahead, the curve ball or unexpected situation has a better chance of getting me.

How the story progressed

Cox, 22, admitted to having consumed four beer and four shots of vodka the night of the crash. He volunteered to drive his friends home from a party after they were told it would be a two-hour wait for a cab.

Danielle Hudson and Miranda MacIsaac, 19, were ejected from the vehicle. Gregory Goulding, 21, remained inside, but sustained serious injuries.

Hudson and Goulding both died because of their injuries. MacIsaac suffered serious injuries.


"One of Hudson's friends, Katie Noble, stood sobbing as she read her victim impact statement. She told the court how moments before the crash, she received a text from her friend with a picture of her smiling from the back seat of the car. Noble said she initially treasured the picture, but not any more."

Road Rage!

  • Road Rage can lead to a suspended drivers license, loss of a job, and legal problems. Many drivers do not recognize when their own aggressive road rage is affecting their behavior.

  • Never brake check a tailgater – Brake checking a tailgater will sometimes make them more enraged. It’s better to let off of the accelerator pedal as they will notice your vehicle slowing and wonder what in the heck you are doing, and then they will just pass you. That being said, also note that many drivers follow too closely and don’t actually realize it.

Types of Road Rage!

Level 1 – Quiet Road Rage

Level 2 – Verbal Road Rage

Level 3 – Confrontational Road Rage

Level 4 – Epic Road Rage

Communicating In Traffic

A key aspect of defensive driving is to keep traffic flowing safely by communicating. Think about it, we drive in and around hundreds of vehicles everyday so it is critical for us to communicate with each other. The unfortunate thing is our vehicles only have two built in ways to communicate. We can use our signal lights to alert other road users of our intentions, and we also have a horn. The problem with the horn is it has only one setting; MAD. But sometimes a driver just wants to give someone a friendly toot of the horn to say “thanks”. Always think twice before honking your horn. You never know who is in the vehicle you are honking at, or what they might be carrying.

Nicest Car Horn Ever

Volvo newest safety feature: communicating with others cars

Impaired Driving

Your first DUI can cost $20,000 or more, even without property damage or injuries and could reach $40,000. A DUI conviction can also lead to the loss of a job. The conviction may remain on the offender’s record for 10 years.


Body cam video shows DUI arrest of woman after friend dies jumping from her car

Party Safely – Alcohol Poisoning Symptoms: What to do if you have alcohol overdose

Extremely dangerous “Shady 8” opioid making the rounds

"Between March 28 and April 20, Cumberland County RCMP responded to three overdoses where in each case RCMP had to administer Narcan to counteract the effects of the overdose. Each person was then taken to hospital by ambulance. In all three cases, the drug that was used is known as “Shady 8”. Shady 8 is a form of Fentanyl, a powerful opioid, which comes in the form of a white or green pill or tablet."


Opioid and Narcotics Overdose Signs and Symptoms

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