Managing Clarity: The Next Step
Principle: Arrive at a destination by paying attention to your steps.
Distracted driving is any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system—anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving. Texting is the most alarming distraction. Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed. You cannot drive safely unless the task of driving has your full attention. Any non-driving activity you engage in is a potential distraction and increases your risk of crashing. 
2016 U.S. Cell Phone and Driving Statistics
- Fatalities in distraction-affected crashes decreased from 3,526 in 2015 to 3,450 in 2016, or a decrease of 2.2 percent.
- 263 teens (age 15 to 19) were killed as a result of distracted driving in 2016.
- 10 percent of all teen motor vehicle crash fatalities in 2016 involved distracted driving.
- The NHTSA estimates that every day 660,000 drivers use electronic devices while behind the wheel. 
Eventually, a path becomes a habit, so familiar that we make the turns without needing to consciously make decisions. Once the decisions are made, our attention can focus on moving forward. We need to clearly focus on the steps we take toward our destination. Clarity is about not becoming distracted; distractions are ineffiicient, and can be deadly.
If you’re traveling at night at 60 miles an hour, that means you travel one mile each minute. In the dark, you cannot even see a mile. Your headlights allow you 7 seconds of visibility, 350 feet, but that’s enough. (The distance you can see falls to 160 to notice an object on the highway.) You know you are traveling on a road, that the road is maintained properly and that the future will unfold as it should if you can see clearly for the next 7 seconds. The next few steps are clear … but not if you are distracted. Anything that prevents you from clearly seeing, whether that is a mile ahead, 7 seconds ahead, or a year or 10 years ahead, is a problem that threatens your future and your life. Watch your step – the next step.
QUESTIONS for thinking it through:
- Am I giving each step the attention it needs?
- Am I mindful and living in the moment, or mentally absent from the present?
- What do I need to do now to regain my focus on the current step?
 Distracted Driving, by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, from https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/distracted-driving
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