As Scouts and Scouters, our preferred mode of transportation involves our feet, a paddle or two bicycle wheels.
But even the most adventurous Scouting journey begins in a vehicle. When that happens, you, as the driver, are responsible for safely transporting Scouts and Venturers there and back.
April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. That makes now the ideal time to share eight ways to be a safer driver when transporting Scouts or Venturers.
1. Get enough sleep
By definition, drowsy drivers are about to fall asleep. Drivers are generally poor judges of their own level of fatigue and unable to predict when they are in danger of falling asleep at the wheel.
2. Share the driving
Before leaving on any vehicle journey, designate licensed relief drivers.
3. Be aware of medicine side effects
Avoid sedating medications such as cold tablets, antihistamines and/or antidepressants when driving.
4. Take frequent breaks
What's the rush? Stop and get out of the car at least once every two hours.
5. Put your phone away
When you get behind the wheel, put your cellphone away — somewhere like your backpack or glove compartment where it's out of reach.
If you must use the phone, pull the vehicle off the road and to a safe location. If you use your phone to navigate, turn on the "do not disturb" mode so you aren't bombarded with incoming messages.
6. Avoid eating behind the wheel
Sure, eating snacks or meals on the road saves time, but this practice takes attention off the road and/or other drivers.
7. Drive appropriate vehicles
This site includes a short slide deck on 15-passenger vans. Review it before your next trip involving vans as transportation. As a reminder: Pre-2005 15-passenger vans are not authorized for Scouting activities.
8. Get trained
The BSA offers driver improvement training that can be found at My.Scouting.org. This program is based on the concepts of defensive driving, recognizing hazards and preventable collisions. Go to the BSA Learn Center and look for "expanded learning." Once completed, a certificate will be generated, and the participant's training records will be updated.