At Flagger Force, we care about distracted driving because when a motorist is not paying attention, it puts our team members at risk. With so many of our crews on the road every day, we see more than our share of distracted driving behaviors. So this issue is top of mind for us— we want to decrease distracted driving to keep our crews safe as well as increase safety for our clients and the general public. Our brand promise is to keep communities moving, which means doing our part to prevent accidents.

So let’s examine why distracted driving is so serious and what we can do about it.

Facts about Distracted Driving

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reports that 3,142 people lost their lives due to distracted driving in 2020. And many more were injured. Further, eight percent of fatal crashes and 14 percent of injury crashes were the result of distractions behind the wheel.

And the American Automobile Association (AAA) reported that nearly 87% of drivers admit to engaging in risky behaviors, such as texting, while driving despite knowing how dangerous it can be. That’s remarkably high!

Sadly, distracted driving is becoming increasingly common among younger drivers. NHTSA has identified cell phone use while driving as one of the primary causes of distraction with texting as the most dangerous distraction. When a driver takes their eyes off the road to send or read a text, that takes about five seconds, in which time a car covers about 100 yards (at 55 mph). That’s a dangerous amount of distance to cover with eyes down!

Distracted driver using cellphone while behind the wheel

Different Types of Distracted Driving

Experts agree that there are three primary types of distracted driving: manual, cognitive, and visual. All three types pose a danger to people in work zones and to fellow drivers. It’s important to understand these main types of distracted driving so we can identify solutions.

Manual Distraction: When a driver takes their hands off the wheel, that’s a manual distraction. Causes include eating, using a mobile phone, smoking or reaching for something in the vehicle.

Cognitive Distraction: This is when a driver’s mind wanders to other things besides paying attention to the road. It can be caused by a conversation, by fatigue, or just by being lost in thought.

Visual Distraction: The last kind of distraction is when a driver takes their eyes off the road to look at something else. This can be caused by looking at a mobile device, adjusting the radio, checking your GPS, or reading a billboard.

Solutions to Reduce Distracted Driving

Driving safety depends on three main factors that sound really simple: keeping your hands on the wheel, concentrating on driving, and keeping your eyes on the road.

What’s not simple about these is how to discipline ourselves to do them when we’re so easily distracted by hunger, fatigue, boredom, and other things that take our attention away from driving. So how do we address these impulses that lead to distracted driving? Here are some tips.

  • Take breaks from driving. Reward yourself with a snack, a call, or maybe a walk. This is especially critical on long trips.
  • Use a text-blocking app. There are a number of text-blocking apps that will prevent you from receiving these distractions while the car is moving. Start by taking a look at AT&T DriveMode.
  • Have a passenger navigate for you. This prevents you from having to look down at your GPS.
  • Make a music playlist. This gives you a bunch of songs you like with no taking your eyes off the road to change channels.
  • Eat before or after your drive. Plan your trip so you know you’ll be eating before or after. That way you’re not tempted to muti-task a meal into your travels.
  • If you get sleepy, pull over. Once you’re safely off the road, take a quick nap or just get out and stretch to wake yourself up. You’ll return to driving alert and ready to go.

Graphic that says: "Solutions to Avoid Distracted Driving: Take breaks from driving; use a text-blocking app; have a passenger navigate for you; eat before or after your drive; if you get sleepy, pull over"

Safe driving habits are not complicated, but they can be hard to practice consistently. We all get tired, we get distracted, and we stop concentrating on what we know is safe. But the cost of a single slip up can be very high so it’s something we all want to avoid.

Take it from your friends at Flagger Force, we’re all in this together and we can each have an impact on making the roads, and work zones, much safer by reducing the number of distracted drivers.

Distracted Driving: Causes and Cures
Article Name
Distracted Driving: Causes and Cures
We care about distracted driving because when a motorist is not paying attention, it puts our team members at risk. With so many of our crews on the road everyday, we see more than our share of distracted driving behaviors.
Publisher Name
Flagger Force
Publisher Logo