Distracted driving is quickly becoming one of the biggest problems on the road today. Many drivers will multi-task while driving, putting their own life and the lives of others at risk for injury or even death. In fact, each day, more than 15 people are killed from distracted driving and another 1,200 people are injured.
Distracted driving can be anything that takes your eyes, hands or mind off of the wheel, like staring at a billboard, eating a sandwich or simply just daydreaming. While these three distractions (visual, manual, and cognitive) can be dangerous on their own, they’re even worse when combined. Things like talking on a cell phone, searching through a smartphone app, and texting can require too much of your attention, making driving your second priority.
Here are just a few of the major distractions drivers face and exactly how they steal your attention:
Eating while Driving – Eating while driving may not seem like a major distraction, but it can be one of the worst. Not only are you using one, and sometimes both hands, but you are chewing and swallowing, opening packages, making sure not to spill, wiping your face and hands with napkins, and the list goes on and on. Obviously, some foods are much less distracting, like a simple bag of chips, but even having greasy fingers can interfere with your driving skills. Eating, while driving, is unsafe, unhealthy, and completely unnecessary.
Changing the Radio Station – Most people think that changing the radio station is an innocent act that takes only a few seconds. In reality, most people change the radio station until they find something they like; which can take more than a few seconds. Fidgeting with your dashboard takes your hands and eyes off of the wheel, and more often than not you’re thinking of the songs more than the road.
Texting or E-mailing – Texting and e-mailing while driving has become one of the biggest problems today in distracted driving, and the younger generations are some of the most easily influenced. Over 50% of drivers aged 18-29 in the U.S. admit to texting or e-mailing at least once in the last 30 days while driving and over a quarter report texting and e-mailing “fairly often” while driving.
Attending to Children – Ironically enough, parents who want the best for their children are often the ones who endanger them by driving distracted. Many parents want to keep their children entertained, and will quickly lose focus when they feel their child needs them. Keep your kids busy with books, games and DVDs, and teach them that driving is your number one priority for their own safety.
Talking on the Phone – Many people assume that the dialing of the phone is the dangerous part of talking while driving, when in reality, it isn’t. Studies have actually shown that the use of hands-free devices does not lower the distraction levels, and that crashes attributed to dialing were almost identical to number associated with talking or even just listening on the phone!
The smallest distractions can cause serious damage or injury. Distracted Driving should not be taken lightly. Hardison and Chochran is a firm that can help you should you or a loved one be a victim of dangerous driving. For more info on the dangers associated with driving visit the Department of Transportation.