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Week’s focus is on safety

This week is a national Drive Safely Work Week.

In theory, we all drive fairly safe and want to get from point A to point B and then back home to our families at the end of the day. But between looking down at the phone, eating that breakfast burrito, changing a radio station or being in our own little world thinking about our latest problem, we do get distracted. On top of that our daily commutes become so second nature to us, we rely more on muscle memory than brainpower to stop at the stop sign or make the proper turn. Everyone has had the issue where they are too busy thinking about something and they go their usual way home, but then realize they were supposed to go to the grocery store or another errand.

Because of these factors that lead to unfocused driving, the Mississippi Department of Transportation is observing the Drive Safely Work Week Monday through Friday. It’s the 19th observance of the week sponsored by the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety.

The campaign also focuses on driving while on the job. In most professions people have to get out of the office and deliver goods, bring themselves to a client or even just run to the post office with company mail. Those paths we take can also become second nature.

The theme of this year’s campaign is #PlanAhead: Your Key to Driving Safely. This theme emphasizes the necessary component of even the most routine of trips — planning. By preparing in advance, employees will minimize the risks on roadways and keep themselves and other motorists as safe as possible. The campaign offers the following tips:

• Remember to take time to plan your journey — even those that feel routine;

• Prepare for driving situations that take you into unfamiliar areas;

• Take precautions to ensure you’re driving with a clear head;

• Learn to navigate the changes we all experience as we age and how they may affect driving; and

• Check your fuel gauge the night before to make sure that you have enough fuel to get you safely to and from work.

  Before you leave your house or workplace, consider using MDOTtraffic.com to check for any construction or traffic that could cause slowdowns on your commute; plan your route accordingly.