This topic isn’t new. Everyone knows that distracted driving is risky and can substantially increase the likelihood of an accident. Everyone knows this, yet 1 in 4 car accidents in the United States is caused by an inattentive motorist. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately nine people are killed and more than 1,000 are injured each day in the U.S. due to a distracted driving incident. We all know the dangers involved, so why do we continue to put ourselves and others in harm’s way? Perhaps we don’t fully comprehend all the little things we do while driving that add up to increasing our risk of an incident.
Distracted driving is the act of engaging in other activities that take your full attention away from driving your vehicle. To take better control of your vehicle and own personal driving routine, we need to realize that distracted driving is more than texting while driving. Yes, cell phones lead the pack when it comes to the various types of distractions, but there are three main types of distracted driving: cognitive, visual, and manual. These three categories encompass many habits that lead to careless operation. Let’s break it down:
This type of distraction is when the mind isn’t focused on driving. Examples include:
- Listening to the radio
- Talking to passengers
- Being stressed or tired
- Lost in thought
Distractions like these take your eyes and focus off the road. Such as:
- Electronic devices (cell phone, GPS)
- Looking for items in the car
- Changing the music
- Observing billboards
This is when a driver takes their hands off the wheel for any reason. This type of distraction includes:
- Eating/drinking while driving
- Adjusting the radio
- Using a cell phone or navigation device
- Reaching for items in the car
Let’s face it, becoming sidetracked when behind the wheel is easy to do; however, taking your eyes off the road for more than two seconds doubles your risk of getting into a car accident. That’s it—it’s not a lot of time. As a collective group of motorists, it’s important we all look in to our own driving habits to find where our faults lie. This is the first step in combating this widespread absent-mindedness.
Starting with the Driver
Did you know that you should leave at least a 4-second gap between you and the car in front of you? Most people know this concept, but how many of us are actually going the extra mile in ensuring we’re doing our part in making our roads a safer place? Whether it’s your 1,000th time behind the wheel or your first, we all equally share the responsibility of safe travel. It’s important to remember the basics and to stay focused when behind the wheel. Our blog post, Driving Tips for Safer Traveling, is a great resource for safe driving tips.
We’re all going somewhere—let’s make sure we all get there safely.