Distracted driving is any activity that diverts the your attention away from the wheel, road, or driving. There are three types of distracted driving: visual driver distraction, manual driver distraction, and cognitive driver distraction, as shown in the visual to the right. Common distractions include texting, calling on the phone, talking, eating and drinking, managing kids or passengers in the backseat, watching an event outside the vehicle, thinking about the workplace, and many more. However, one of the most dangerous distractions is texting while driving as it fits into all three types of distraction categories.
Do You Know?
There are 424,000 injuries due to distracting driving in 2019. (1)
It is easy to be distracted while driving. Like most, you often interact with your surroundings and your hectic schedule may often keep you tied to your cell phone. It is tempting to reply to a message, thinking that there is no harm done since it will only take a few seconds. However, it only takes a few seconds for some of the most deadliest crashes to occur. It is dangerous to multitask. For a visualization, if you are driving at 55 miles per hour; it takes 5 seconds to respond to a text, the distance you traveled in 5 seconds is equivalent to driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed! (2)
For the most part, drivers are not equipped to juggle two mentally demanding tasks, like driving and texting, at the same time without putting themselves and others at risk. In fact, the risk of a crash is four times more likely when a person uses a cell phone while driving. Distracted driving is one of the leading cause of death on the road and it is increasingly getting worse.
Did you know distracted driving is such a huge problem, that the entire month of April was designated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as Distracted Driving Month?
You don’t have to wait for April. Now is the best time to reassess and take responsibility for the choices we make when we’re on the road.
Do You Know?
In 2020, 3,142 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes due to distracted driving. (2)
What can you do to prevent distracted driving?
- STOP texting while driving.
- If you must use your mobile phone, use hand-free devices only.
- Pay attention to red lights, stop signs, and other situational factors such as a school bus or ambulance.
- Avoid eating and drinking while driving.
- Avoid actively interacting with the other passengers on board.
- Turn on “Do Not Disturb” on your phone before starting the engine.
- For emergencies, you should safely pull over to the side of the road.
(1) Distracted Driving | Transportation Safety | Injury Center | CDC. (n.d.). https://www.cdc.gov/transportationsafety/distracted_driving/index.html
(2) Distracted Driving. (n.d.). NHTSA. https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/distracted-driving