The dangers of distracted driving are many. Multitasking is a great skill to have, but you shouldn’t use this skill when you are driving. Multitasking while driving is considered distracted driving, and distracted driving is a very dangerous thing to do.
Distracted driving is any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the radio, or anything else that takes away your attention from driving.
In 2018 in the United States, over 2,800 people were killed and an estimated 400,000 were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver. What are some of the most common dangers of distracted driving and what exactly IS distracted driving? Let’s dig in!
There are a few different types of distractions one faces on the road.
Types Of Distractions
Manual Distractions – Manual distractions are distractions when you move your hands from the wheel. This could be leaning over to grab something from the back of the car or going to grab your cell phone.
Visual Distractions – Visual distractions occur when you focus your eyes away from the road. These distractions can happen when you are looking at something on the side of the road. Taking your eyes off the road for even two seconds can prove to be fatal. Gawking at accidents is a high risk way to get into an accident yourself.
Cognitive Distraction – A cognitive distraction happens when your mind focuses away from driving. This is why it’s important to be in a healthy emotional state before getting behind the wheel. The focus needs to remain on the road and not your anger or sadness.
Texting And Driving
Texting and driving involves all three types of distractions. Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds on average. If you are driving at 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed. According to a study done by the University of Utah, people are as impaired when they drive and talk on a cell phone as they are when they drive intoxicated at the blood alcohol limit of 0.08%.
According to the 2013 Traffic Safety Culture Index, 83 percent of motorists rated texting while driving and 58 percent rated cell phone use very serious threats to their safety, yet many admitted performing these distracting behaviors while driving within the previous month. Further, 88 percent of respondents said that distracted drivers were somewhat or a much bigger problem today than they were just three years ago.
So, is it safer to drive with a hands free device? Studies show that hands-free cell phones offer no significant safety benefits. However, some states and cities have laws that ban using handheld devices while driving but allow hands free devices to be used.
In conclusion, drivers shouldn’t use a cell phone, even if it’s a hands free device, when driving. You cannot drive safely unless driving has your full attention. Save the call or text for when you have safely arrived at your destination.
Laws For Phones While Driving
Many states have laws on the books for phone usage while driving. Know your state’s laws before you get out on the road.
21 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam banned all drivers from hand-held phone use while driving;
48 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam banned texting while driving for all drivers.
39 states and the District of Columbia prohibits all cell phone use by new drivers.
20 states and the District of Columbia prohibit school bus drivers from cell phone use while driving.
Tips For Driving Without Distractions
There are 3 different types of distractions while driving, as mentioned earlier. Here are a few tips to avoid these distractions:
Put your phone in the glove compartment or somewhere else where you will not be tempted to get it out and use it while in the car. Wait until you are parked!
Put all other distractions that you might be tempted to use while driving away.
Keep your radio at a safe volume level. Loud music can distract you from hearing things on the road with you, like emergency vehicles. You can also get easily caught up in the music and stop focusing on the road, which is a cognitive distraction.
On that note, don’t fiddle with your radio or other music system while driving. Pull over and change the radio if the song is that horrible, but do not do it while you are driving.
Do not get behind the wheel when you are tired or in a strong, emotional state. You want all of your focus on the road. Don’t even think about driving when you are intoxicated.
Don’t eat or drink while driving. It can be tempting, but multitasking is distracted driving. You don’t want to miss a car stopping in front of you because you were taking a bite of your burger.
Don’t gawk. If you see an accident, don’t stop to stare. If emergency help has not arrived, pull over and call for them
Sightsee another time. Driving is not the time to be taking in the views. Make sure you are focused on the road and not the scenery.
Keep your windshield clean. The time to notice there is a big spot of bird droppings on your windshield is not when you are out on the road. Make sure it’s clean before you head out.
Encouraging Safe Driving
Give clear instructions: Do not let new drivers use their wireless devices when driving. Discuss the dangers with new drivers before they get their license.
Don’t drive distracted yourself: Be a good example. Nobody should be texting and driving. Set rules for yourself and anyone who drives your car regarding distracted driving.
Become informed: Tell your family and friends about the dangers of distracted driving. Share information with your children’s schools and ask that it be shared with students and parents.
By driving distracted, you put yourself and others at a high risk. Distracted driving is a threat to public health. At SWP Auto Glass, safety is important to us. Just don’t do it.