In this digital age we live in, distracted driving is becoming increasingly common. We get bombarded with countless notifications that take our attention away from a seemingly mundane task such as driving. But even if it’s just a quick glance on a text your friend sent you can mean a trip to the hospital, or worse, the grave.
You’ve probably seen this behavior when you drive by other cars, or gulp, you yourself are guilty of doing it. How guilty? Well, let’s take a look at what constitutes as distracted driving:
- Checking yourself in the mirror
- Looking at crash scenes on the road
- Looking at roadside billboards
- Grooming in your car
- Reading the map
- Reaching for an item on the floor
- Attending to other passengers in the car
- Using a handheld cell phone
- Manipulating other parts of the vehicle
These all count as being distracted and each one has different risk levels. For example, you could talk to a friend while still keeping your eyes on the road which puts you at less risk. Meanwhile, trying to pick up an item that fell on the floor while you’re driving is extremely risky since your eyes are completely off the road.
When you are distracted while driving, you put your life and other people’s life at risk. Those in the car and on the road. Research by the CDC shows that an average of 1,060 get injured in the United States everyday due to distracted driving. At least nine people lose their lives because of it.
Some people will swear by their multi-tasking capabilities but the truth of the matter is, distracted driving is a huge danger to the public. In fact, in 2010, it was found that 20% of all crashes were because of a distracted driver. Younger individuals are especially at more risk since they’re likely to use electronics that cause the distraction.
If you don’t want to be a part of the statistics, don’t get distracted while driving. Be a responsible driver and focus on the road. A few seconds can make a difference in someone’s life. Wait until you are parked in a safe area to do what you were meaning to do.
Here are other ways you can help stop distracted driving:
- Check everything before you go. Your car should be in good condition before you drive. If you notice something different like your tires running weird, find a safe spot to park and only check there. In this instance, you might learn that Toyo tires have great grip tires so you decide to have it replaced at the nearest auto shop.
- If you know that you are easily distracted, make sure you keep the temptation away. For example, turn the notifications on your phone on silent and hide it somewhere. Or don’t play a highly engaging podcast if you tend to get engrossed in a topic.
- Lead by example. If you’re a passenger, don’t do anything to distract the driver.
- If you are emotionally unwell, intoxicated, or under the influence of drugs, don’t drive.
- Report distracted drivers. If you’ve recently seen a distracted driver, report it to your local authorities so they are aware. Keep details like their plate number, what they were doing, how fast they were driving, and who was in the car. These matter in determining just how risky the driver was being.
- Be aware of your local laws. Each state has different rules on distracted driving. For example, some laws ban drivers from using handheld phones while some allow it. Help others be aware of these laws and don’t hesitate to voice out your opinion if you feel strongly against certain distracted driving laws.
What measures do you take yourself to ensure you are driving safely? Share your thoughts in the comments below.