By Dar Danielson (Radio Iowa)
The Iowa Department of Transportation and Triple-A Iowa are working together to highlight the need for drivers to improve their habits to cut traffic fatalities. The DOT’s Andrea Henry says part of the effort is their “What Drives You?” campaign.
“What drives them to get home safely every night. So whether that be their loved ones waiting at home, their pets, hobbies, or anything else that they’re really anxious to get home to,” Henry says. She says the campaign focuses on some key habits.
“Buckling up, slowing down and making sure that you’re driving chill, which means that you’re not speeding or driving aggressively,” she says, “making sure that you’re sober when you get behind the wheel, and always paying attention and focusing on the task of driving.” Triple-A has focused on the “Slow Down, Move Over” laws in Iowa and across the country. Henry says that the law is also something the DOT wants to remind drivers about.
“Which means that if you see any vehicle, whether that’s an emergency vehicle, or just a motorist who is stranded on the side of the road with flashing lights, you should move over if you can, if it’s safe to do so,” Henry says. If you cannot move over, then you should slow down to a safe speed to allow you to get around those vehicles safely.” Triple-A says nearly 350 people are struck and killed nationwide outside a disabled vehicle each year, and roughly one quarter of motorists don’t know that Slow Down, Move Over laws exist in their state. Henry says the big drop in traffic on the roadways during the pandemic led to some bad driving habits that still remain.
“People did get into some bad habits during that pandemic when there might have been fewer people on the road and there was that perceived bubble of safety. We saw speeds increase quite a bit over the pandemic so now people are just getting used to what normal driving is like,” Henry says. She says if you have bad habits and get into an accident, then you may never get to your destination and see the people you want to see. Speeding is a good example of that.
“Studies have shown that honestly, even just a few miles an hour over (the speed limit) only gets you there maybe a couple of seconds up to a minute or two faster. But then the risk is infinitely more than that. And yeah, if you don’t make it to your destination it there’s no point really in speeding,” Henry says. The “What Drives You?” campaign is currently running on social media, TV and radio.