Driving distractions have existed since the first cars hit the road, but the growing use of technology has created more problems.
There are three main types of driving distractions: Manual (taking your hands off the wheel); Visual (taking your eyes off the road); and Cognitive (taking your mind off driving), according to Distraction.gov, the official U.S. government website for distracted driving. And these distractions endanger driver, passenger, and bystander safety. The most common driving distractions are:
- Using a cell phone or smartphone
- Eating and drinking
- Talking to passengers
- Using a navigation system
- Watching a video
- Adjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player
In 2009, 5,474 people were killed in crashes involving driver distraction and an estimated 448,000 people were injured, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Navigation systems and cell phones have become major distractions for drivers today. Of those injured in distracted-driving-related crashes in 2009, 24,000 involved reports of a cell phone as a distraction (5% of injured people in distraction-related crashes).
Even using hands-free devices or the speaker to talk on a cell phone while driving is dangerous because the conversation can cause drivers to miss important visual and audio cues that would ordinarily help that person avoid a crash.
Many states have passed laws against texting, talking on a cell phone, and other distractions. As of today, 35 U.S. states and Washington D.C. ban text messaging for all drivers. Twelve of these laws were enacted in 2010 alone.
Follow these tips for undistracted driving:
- Make sure all passengers are buckled-up properly.
- Be well-rested and in the appropriate mindset to drive. Driving while you are upset or angry can be dangerous.
- Don’t tailgate.
- Allow sufficient time to reach your destination.
- Ensure your vehicle is properly maintained.
Author: Darice Britt