Each day in the United States, approximately 9 people are killed and more than 1,000 injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver. Distracted driving is driving while doing another activity that takes your attention away from driving. Distracted driving can increase the chance of a motor vehicle crash.
We all drive and if we are not the driver, someone is driving us to our destination. Distracted driving is a serious issue with terrifying consequences. Most campaigns promoting awareness of distracted driving are targeting younger drivers, especially teenagers. Younger drivers do need to be aware of being distracted when driving but unfortunately, adults can be just as distracted.
There are so many things that can affect a driver’s concentration when driving. Drivers need to be aware of these distractions and avoid them at all costs. When operating a vehicle you are in control of your own life, your passengers lives and also other drivers lives. Below is a list of contributing factors to driving distractions.
- Cell phone use- This can be text messaging, scrolling social media, checking email or even just talking on the phone. All of these functions make the driver focus on the device and not on the road and the driving conditions.
- Passengers- Friends, kids, pets can all be a huge distraction when driving.
- Adjusting controls/devices- Things such as readjusting your mirrors, playing with the radio, moving your seat, adjusting your seatbelt or fixing the temperature can all play a part in distracting the driver.
- Looking at something or someone outside of the car- If you take your eyes off of the road, even for a second, to look at something or someone it can cause an accident.
- Eating/drinking- If your mind is on eating the meal you just purchased or taking a sip of your coffee, you are not fully focused on the road.
- Reaching for an object- Reaching for anything in your car takes your focus and eyes off the road. The object can be a pen, your phone, a book, something that slid off your seat, anything you can think of! That small fraction of time can cause enough of a distraction to cause an accident.
- A wandering mind- When driving you are thinking about everything BUT driving. As your mind is wandering, you are not thinking about driving or paying close attention to the road or other drivers.
This is an eye-opening, scary statistic about using your cell phone while driving. Something to think about before you reach for your phone. That text, phone call or email can wait, it is not worth your life or anyone else’s life.
Drivers need to be aware of their surroundings and make a point before you get behind the wheel to focus only on driving. Multi-tasking needs to be done before or after driving. Make sure you have eaten and are fully ready for the day before you start driving. Ensure that the distractions you can control are removed and be highly aware of outside distractions.
Things in life are not always perfect. You will be running late or having a stressful day, nothing is an excuse to not be fully focused on driving. If you make focusing a habit every time you get into a vehicle, it will soon become second nature. Hopefully, this tiny habit will make a huge impact on your life and the lives of others around you.