Some drivers pull close to leading cars at traffic lights so they can read their tiny bumper sticker. Are companies that print tiny bumper stickers more interested in consumer interest than they are about driver safety? The more a company can interest consumers, the more sales they can make. Reading a tiny bumper sticker is like trying to read a yard sale sign written in pencil. When everything that’s for sale is listed on the sign, it’s virtually impossible to read without using binoculars

Distracted driving summons up the image of a driver using a cellphone. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety said that over 84% of drivers acknowledge that there are lots of distractions caused by cellphones. Those same drivers, however, disclose that they’ve frequently read or sent email while they were driving.

The best way to ensure that teenage drivers don’t drive while being distracted is for parents to set a good example while driving. Teenage drivers are between two to four times more likely to drive distracted if their parents drive while being distracted.

When a driver’s eyes look away from the road for more than two seconds, their chance of being involved in an accident significantly multiplies. Stationary billboards offer great deals along the highway. They might tell drivers about nice restaurants, hotels, visitor centers, cheap tickets, lawyers or insurance companies. The more there is to read on a billboard, the more time reading drivers take their eyes off the road. Research has shown that digital billboards are even more distracting.

Try to read the writing on the side of a city bus that’s driving in the opposite direction. It’s as easy as reading a bouncing sign held by a jumping teenager excitedly advertising his high school car wash. It can also be a struggle to read the writing on a large arrow that a worker strums like a guitar and flips over and over. In elementary school, I don’t recall my teacher teaching students to read by tossing a book in the air.

Most drivers know that texting, using a cellphone or watching a video can be distracting. But, hordes of accidents and fatalities are caused by drivers who are grooming, reading a map, using a navigation system, adjusting a radio or playing footsie with their lover. Only a few astute drivers understand that eating, drinking or even talking to passengers can be distracting.

Many people enjoy adorning their car with fancy lights, but a misdirected car light can be blinding. When drivers forget to dim their headlights, they can temporarily blind other drivers.

A car’s headlights do not allow drivers to see as far at night as they can in daylight. Countless drivers drive faster than headlights give them the ability to see. When they are properly aimed, low beam headlights provide visibility for only 250 to 350 feet. Years ago, many states recognized this fact and had reduced speed limits after dark.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 30 people die every day in accidents that include alcohol-impaired drivers. They also indicate that prescription and other drugs expand that number greatly. I enjoy adult beverages, but I don’t understand the love affair with alcohol and cars. I also don’t understand how and why drivers have multiple DUI arrests. It isn’t like three distractions and you are out, because only one accident, regardless of distraction, can be deadly.

Headlights from other cars, as well as construction lights and emergency vehicle lights can cause a distraction. Balloons in car lots and oversized American flags are certainly attention getters, but they are also a distraction. My wife and I joke when we see lots of balloons in a car lot; “That’s where we should purchase our next car because they’re flying balloons.”

Election time can be a very exciting time, but it can also be a driver’s distractions time. Political signs are placed just about everywhere imaginable. They are placed on private property, billboards, and illegally on the government right-of-way. Are classes provided that teach real estate agents and political campaigners where to stick signs in the ground? Some sites must have a magical magnetism, because where there’s one real estate or political campaign sign, there’s usually many more.

Avoiding distracted drivers is a huge distraction in itself. One in 10 people who are killed in car accidents are killed where at least one of the drivers was distracted. Driving without total concentration is tantamount to driving brainless.

Charlie Sewell is a retired Powder Springs police chief. His book “I’d Rather You Call Me Charlie: Reminiscences Filled With Twists of Devilment, Devotion and A Little Danger Here and There” is available on Amazon. Email him at


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