To the Editor:
If you are anything like me, having control of your circumstances is a must. I don't like to leave anything to chance, especially events well within my control. Looking back on the events in 2012 and considering the challenges that persist, you may not see it as a banner year for the "Type A's" among us. High unemployment drought skyrocketing debt inflation mass shootingsall outside of our control. It begs the question, what can we control? With the Christmas and New Year holidays upon us, the Iowa State Patrol would like to offer these suggestions for controlling your circumstances on the road.
- Seatbeltsevery trip, every position. The first thing you can control before starting the car is your seatbelt. Statistics continue to show your seatbelt is the best defense in any crash. Statistics year to date show that 191 Iowans have survived life-threatening crashes because they were wearing their seatbelts.
- Maintain control of your vehicle. The holidays often bring slick roads; make sure you take responsibility as a driver to keep your vehicle under control. Call 511 or visit 511ia.org for updated road conditions as reported by the Iowa State Patrol. For roadside assistance, dial 1-800-525-5555 or *55.
- Drive defensively. You can't control how others drive around you. But you can be prepared to prevent a crash when the other guy makes a mistake. Ask yourself, 'what am I going to do when _____ happens?'
- Use a designated driver if your holiday plans include alcohol. Alcohol affects your judgment and reaction time even at the one-drink level, reducing your control when behind the wheel. Don't remember the New Year's Eve party for the wrong reason.
- Avoid distractions while driving. Some studies have shown distractions are a factor in as high as 80% of all crashes. Take control by putting your handheld device down. 'Windshield time' shouldn't mean the opportunity to catch up on unfinished business from the day.
We all have a 'type A' streak in us to some extent. Controlling the issues we can, and letting go of the ones we can't is really what it comes down to. The hardest part is telling the difference. Traffic safety is largely an issue that you CAN control. Make it a priority this holiday season to control your approach to traffic safety.
On behalf of the men and women of the Iowa State Patrol, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Trooper Vince Kurtz, ISP?495
Safety Education Officer
Iowa State Patrol
Spencer, IA 51301