Drive Responsibly Campaign

Know Your Breaking Point
Instead of following too close, follow this simple rule, allow at least 3 seconds of space between you and the car ahead. It's called the Three Second Rule, and it just might mean the difference between breaking in time or breaking something else.

The Three Second Rule
Choose an object near the road ahead, like a sign or telephone pole. As the vehicle ahead passes it, count slowly, "one thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three." If you reach the object before you finish counting, you are too close to the vehicle ahead. So slow it down a little and start counting again!

Let Them Have Their Way
Instead of getting defensive on the road, practice defensive driving. That means yielding right-of-way, because a significant number of crashes are caused by failure to do so. Avoiding confrontation, it's better than the alternative.

When To Yield Right-Of-Way
  • When approaching an intersection with no traffic control, yield to a vehicle that has already entered the intersection from a different street.
  • When 2 vehicles enter an intersection from different streets at approximately the same time, the driver of the vehicle to the left should yield to the driver of the vehicle on the right.
  • The driver of a vehicle about to enter or cross a street from an alley, a private road, or a driveway should yield to all vehicles approaching on the street.
  • The driver of a vehicle should yield to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk.
  • You must do everything you can to prevent striking a pedestrian or another vehicle, regardless of the circumstance.
Respect the Limit
Think exceeding the speed limit isn't a big deal? Think again!
  • When you exceed the speed limit, the distance it takes your vehicle to come to a complete stop increases, making it harder to avoid an accident.
  • Crash severity increases with speed. When your speed increases from 30 to 45 miles per hour (mph), the severity of the crash more than doubles.
  • Higher crash speeds reduce the ability of vehicles and restraint systems to protect occupants.
Over 40% of fatal crashes in Missouri are speed related. 353 persons were injured and 9 persons were killed in Springfield last year as a result of crashes with speeding as a contributing circumstance.

The Springfield Police Department issued 11,899 speeding citations in 2005. Fines for speeding within school zones are double the normal rate. Respect the limit and slow down!

Leave the Distractions Behind
It only takes a second for a crash to happen. Distractions occur when drivers concentrate on something other than operating their vehicles. Nationally 25% of all traffic crashes involve some form of driver distraction. View helpful information on the drive responsibly brochure (PDF).

Driving safely can be challenging enough even when full attention is given to the road and its potential hazards. Driving while operating a cell phone, adjusting the radio, eating and drinking, or even when drowsy can be distracting and potentially dangerous.

Avoid Being Distracted
  • Make adjustments to the vehicle controls, including radio / CD player, before beginning to drive or after the car is no longer in motion.
  • Pull over to the side of the road before answering a cell phone. The safest time to use a cell phone in a car is when stopped.
  • Shift workers should recognize that they are susceptible to drowsy, driving crashes and develop a daily sleep ritual.
  • Sharing the driving responsibilities and limiting driving at night on long trips helps avoid driver fatigue.
  • Limiting interaction with passengers helps drivers to focus on their driving.
  • In 2005, failure to yield was a contributing factor in 2,023 crashes on Springfield streets, that's 26% of all reported crashes.
  • 1,540 crashes were attributed to a vehicle following too close, 19% of all reported crashes.
  • 2,722 crashes involved inattention as a contributing circumstance, 34% of all reported crashes.