Don't multi-think and drive

For many folks the workplace is a two-ton vehicle, and multi-tasking/thinking behind the wheel is a lot tougher than at a brick-and-mortar office. Being distracted by a cell phone ring while updating your spreadsheet report is not quite as dangerous as when it goes off when you're merging onto a freeway.

"We can't multi-think" behind the wheel, says the CEO of a driving school that recently gave me a driving upgrade class/road test.

Here, try this test to see what I mean. (My driving instructor used it in class): What is wrong with this phrase:"A bird in the the hand."

Did you spot the error right away? Even if it took you a nanosecond to notice, that kind of delay while driving can (and usually will) kill or injure you, your passengers or other drivers.

John LeFrevre, who runs Canadian Pro Drivers, estimates that 98 percent of accidents are caused by distractions!! That's not a stat to sneeze at. (Have you ever noticed that you physically can't keep your eyes open when you sneeze? Not a great thing when you're driving, but harder to avoid than choosing to pick up that coffee.)

Ever taken your eyes off the road for a quick sip of coffee? Let's say it takes four seconds to look down to locate your coffee cup and pick it up. At 50 miles an hour, you've traveled 292 ft. in those four seconds - that's a lot of opportunity for a road hazard to "sneak up" on you!

After 17 (near-perfect) years of driving, I figured I knew and had seen it all - but my driving instructor had several neat tips that were new to me:
• Keep your eyes constantly moving; you should know the status of the next three traffic lights ahead of you. (One of my classmates, when tested, responded: "Red… Green… Smog.")
• Keep your mind focused - this is more important, and harder, than you'd think. When distracted, you tend to see what you think you see, not what is actually there. (Like most things in life, it comes down to perception vs. reality!)
• Side mirrors should be winged out further than most of us do - so you can see more of the road and not the edge of your own car.

Obviously companies that require employees to drive large vehicles for a living should be investing in driving courses regularly.

But also, given the increasingly understood effect of off-the-job safety to on-the-job safety, it makes sense for companies to offer group driving instruction to all its employees on occasion.

(Interestingly, deaths that occur during one's commute are counted as workplace fatalities in some countries, and not in others!)

Even experienced drivers can develop bad habits over time - maybe even me ;) By the way, no pylons were harmed in my driving of the test minivan (see photo).

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