Distracted driving has become an increasing danger to our safety and wellbeing. According to the CDC, “Each day in the United States, approximately 9 people are killed and more than 1,000 are injured in crashes that are reported to involve distracted drivers.” These are startling statistics.
These distracted driving injuries and deaths can be prevented. Knowing the most common causes of distracted driving and how you can prevent them will help.
Types of Distractions
A visual distraction is anything that causes you to take your eyes off the road. Manual distractions cause you to take your hands off the steering wheel. Cognitive distractions take your mind off the road. Examples of some common distractions are:
- Using a cell phone or smartphone
- Reading, including maps and navigations systems
- Watching a video
- Reaching for something
- Eating or drinking
- Adjusting the radio or other controls in the vehicle
- Talking to passengers
Using your cell phone presents an even greater danger because it distracts you in all three areas. A sobering statistic from the National Safety Council, ” A driver distracted by a cell phone has a slower reaction time and is more likely to crash than a driver with a .08 blood alcohol level.”
Before you enter your car to drive make sure you are in good condition to drive. If you are drowsy, emotional or have been using drugs or alcohol you need to ask someone else to drive.
Make sure your vehicle is comfortable before you begin to drive. Check your mirrors, seats, program any music that you plan to listen to and adjust the temperature. Doing these tasks before you begin to drive will keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel.
Put down the cell phone. Do not use your cell phone while you are driving. This includes all of the following:
- Having a conversation – even with the hands-free option
- Using the vehicle dashboard system to access your phone
- Taking photos or videos
- Posting or checking your social media apps
- Sending or receiving emails
- Programming your GPS navigational system
Remember to keep your eyes on the road, your hands on the wheel and your mind focused on driving.
Start this conversation today with your family and friends. Let’s put an end to distracted driving.