Get Healthy Carson City

This column appears in the Nevada Appeal Wednesday health pages. It addresses topics related to the health of our community.

Summer is the time when many people across the country take to the roads to embark on vacations. More people are on the roads, and crowds of traffic lead to a greater potential for accidents. Also, many people celebrate during the summer, sometimes with alcohol.

Alcohol and driving are a deadly combination on our roadways.

Recently, it seems that there has been a rash of serious, and sometimes fatal, accidents on the roadways in and around our community. Although the factors surrounding each of these accidents are different, it’s up to all of us to share the roads, drive responsibly, and protect ourselves and each other.

Whether it’s travel to a far-off destination, a trip to spend time with family, or simply your daily commute, remember that safe driving benefits us all. Follow these trips to make sure you arrive at your destination safely:

Put down your phone. Texting, accessing the Internet and hand-held cell phone use while driving have been illegal in Nevada since Jan. 1, 2012.

However, far too many people still can’t resist the urge to take a call or respond to a text while driving. Ask yourself, “Is this text or call worth my life?” If you must talk on the phone, get a hands-free device so you can keep your eyes on the road, or simply pull over until you can finish your conversation. Pay attention to driving. It’s the law.

Leave early, arrive safely. In this fast-paced world, people are often zooming from place to place, worried that they are going to be late. Speeding and weaving in and out of traffic are unsafe, and could result in an accident. Make sure that you leave with plenty of time to get to your destination so that you don’t have to resort to dangerous behaviors that put you and others in harm’s way.

The road is not a race. Nevada has a Basic Rule for driving at reasonable and proper speeds. This means that in addition to any posted speed limits, you must consider the amount and type of traffic, weather, road conditions and other factors. The proper speed may be considerably less than the posted limit.

The legal limit is .08 percent blood alcohol level, but the safest bet is not to drink and drive at all. Alcohol is often a factor in driving accidents, and it’s not worth the risk. Designate a driver if you’re going to be drinking, and never get in the car with or allow someone to drive who has had too much to drink.

All accidents cannot be prevented. Improve your chances of surviving an accident by always wearing your seatbelt when you’re on the road. According to Nevada law, front and rear seat occupants of almost all passenger vehicles must wear safety belts or ride in an approved child restraint system.

We are all just trying to make it to our destination alive. Be courteous, be alert, and share the road. It’s the healthy thing to do.

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