Westworld Alberta

November 2011

Westworld Alberta

Issue link: http://westworldmagazine.ama.ab.ca/i/45845

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working for you Your Attention Please Reasons and strategies for driving without distractions by Matt Law Take the Pledge NEED A REMINDER not to drive while distracted? Just give yourself the thumbs up. AMA, along with Alberta law enforcement offi cers, will be handing out 100,000 No Distractions thumb bands across the province this winter. The bands remind drivers to stay focused on the road – and not on text messaging, cellphone conversations or other distractions. • The bands go hand in hand with YourPledge.ca, a website that encourages motorists to sign a pledge to drive distraction-free. AMA, Victim Services Alberta and the Alberta Association of Chiefs of Police joined forces this September to develop the campaign when the province's new distracted driving law came into effect. 1 in 5 crashes is caused by driver distraction WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU SEE A DISTRACTED DRIVER? Don't become one yourself, says Scott Wilson, senior policy analyst with AMA. "Don't let yourself be distracted by that other distracted individual," he says. "Do what you need to do to be safe, whether it's to back off, change lanes or even pull over safely." Trying to engage a distracted driver could escalate into a confrontation, creating a dangerous situation for both drivers. "The best advice is to stay focused on your own driving and let the police issue tickets to the distracted drivers," says Wilson. Put to the Test HERE'S THE BOTTOM LINE: you can't drive safely with one eye on the road and the other on a cellphone. Or your lipstick. Or a Stieg Larsson novel. • High school students gave it their best shot in Medicine Hat earlier this year at an AMA-hosted Race Against Distraction event. The students drove a closed obstacle course with an AMA Driver Education instructor in the passen- ger seat. Then they drove the same course while being distracted by activities such as texting and grooming. • "The participants were running over pylons and backing up in the wrong direction. Even some of our staff who took the challenge found it incredibly disorienting," says Rick Lang, manager of novice operations with AMA Driver Education. The result was a wake-up call for many participants, who had previously been confi dent in their abilities to multi-task while driving. "They saw that despite their confi dence there's a signifi cant physical, cognitive distrac- tion," says Lang. Watch video of participants on the course at: ama.ab.ca/westworld. GET IN THE GAME If you think you can text a friend, fi nish some fries and tune the radio, all while navigating hairpin curves, controlling your speed and safely stopping at crosswalks, think again. • That's the message — and the challenge — of the online distracted driving game Heads Up, now accessible on AMA's website. Developed by Toyota, the game aims to show how even minor multi-tasking can compromise driving ability. After each level, players learn facts and statistics about distracted driving. Try it out at ama.ab.ca/distracteddriving, then check out CAA's own online distracted driving exercise: distracteddriving.caa.ca. (red car) iStock WESTWORLD >> NOVEMBER 2011 17

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