Distracted Driving: Stay Focused to Stay Safe
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 10 people a day, in the United States alone, are killed in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver. More than 1,100 people are injured in those same circumstances. Every day.
Distracted driving is defined as driving while doing anything that takes your focus off of what you should be doing (which is operating a motor vehicle). Distraction is broken down in to three main types: Visual (taking your eyes off the road); Manual (taking your hands off the wheel); and Cognitive (taking your mind off of driving). Distraction may come in the form of texting, dialing, eating and yes, reading. Even other passengers can contribute to our distractions.
We’ve all seen it: A driver reaching around inside their vehicle to pick up something on the floor; drivers not paying attention to traffic, stoplights or pedestrians because they are focused on their phones; even people shaving or putting on makeup while they’re driving down the freeway. We laugh, point it out and tell the stories to our friends. But the problem is becoming more serious and dangerous. Drivers talking on cell phones cause 1.6 million crashes per year. Collision risk is 2,200% higher (yes, you read that correctly) while a driver is texting. And, nearly half of teenagers surveyed admit to being in a car while the driver was texting.
With a “To Do list” longer than we can possibly complete in a day, we all face the problem of trying to multi-task during every possible minute – including driving. Even the most responsible, well-intentioned driver may find themselves tempted “just this once”. Stay safe; remember that it can happen to YOU. Follow these common-sense tips from the Insurance Information Institute (III):
- Let all calls go to voicemail.
- If you absolutely need to make a call or text, exit the road and find a safe place to do so.
- Never dial a number while driving. Ask a passenger to dial for you.
- Keep phone calls brief and delay stressful conversations until later. Remember, you need to focus your attention and energy on driving.
- Never take notes or text behind the wheel.
- Set your GPS while parked, not while driving.