Distracted driving is any activity that diverts your attention from the road in front of you. Any distraction that affects drivers presents a clear and present danger to passengers and others on the roadway. It’s important to educate yourself upon some of the most common driving distractions, and do what you can to minimize them as you go out this winter.
Cellphones & Tablets
If you text, talk, or photograph when you’re behind the wheel of your car, unfortunately you’re not alone. Alarmingly, during any given daylight hour over half a million drivers are using cellphones or tablets while driving. That’s a lot of eyes that ought to be focused on the road, instead of on a high-definition screen.
Eating & Drinking
Part of a busy lifestyle includes eating on the go. While no legislation has been enacted to ban this practice, as is the case with cell phone use, eating and drinking can be just as distracting. Trying to avoid spills, or just focusing on maneuvering that delicious taco into your mouth, can misplace your attention from driving. It’s best to park and eat before moving on.
You’re running late for work, and decide to do your makeup or hair during your commute. Applying mascara or creating a perfect hairdo behind the wheel could jeopardize your very life and those around you. A driver needs 1.5 seconds to react to changes on the road, which can easily be missed during beauty rituals.
Radio & Audio
Searching for your favorite radio station or CD can have deadly consequences. Fumbling for the volume controls can hog your attention, leaving you open to making a deadly driving mistake. Although your favorite tunes can make traffic more bearable, audio systems can be a major distraction from the primary task of driving.
Sure, carpooling can be economical and fun. However, studies show that enjoyable company can sometimes more than triple the risk for a deadly crash, particularly with younger drivers. In fact, driverknowledge.com indicates that young adult traffic deaths have risen to over 5,000 per year due in part to distracted driving. Of course this risk is variable upon the behavior of the passengers, but even small children can provide just enough distraction to adult drivers for an accident to occur.
Driving is a privilege, not a right. It’s important to enjoy this privilege, but also to recognize the responsibility that comes along with piloting a vehicle. Paying attention can save lives and decrease injuries in our communities across the country.