Current research reveals the legitimate danger of distracted driving. Distracted driving can include: dialing a cell phone, texting, reading, applying make-up, eating, reaching for a moving object or looking outside of the vehicle. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, more than 6,000 people in the United States were killed last year, and more than 500,000 were injured due to distracted driving. Factor in bad weather, road construction, work stress and traffic into the equation, and distracted driving becomes a recipe for disaster.
According to a study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, if a driver sends a text message while driving, he or she is 23 times more likely to get into a collision. At highway speeds, just five seconds spent looking at a texting device equals 100 or more yards traveled without paying attention. CNBC and Car and Driver Magazine indicate texting and driving can be worse than drunk driving, reporting that an unimpaired driver takes .54 seconds to brake while a driver reading an email or sending a text message could take up to an additional 70 feet to brake.
Here are a few tips on remaining an undistracted driver:
- Make and finish phone calls before you drive away
- If your phone rings while driving, allow your voicemail to pick up the call
- If you must answer your phone, pull over to a safe location to complete the call
- Never text and drive
- Give yourself time to eat, drink and rest prior to driving
- Allow sufficient time to reach your location
- Ensure all passengers are buckled-up properly
- Adjust vehicle controls prior to driving away (navigation systems, climate control, radio/mp3 device, seat)
- Lead by example: teach children how important it is to be focused while driving, and provide them with distractions like books or games
- Properly secure a pet in a moving vehicle, and never allow them to sit in your lap while driving
While driving, it is important to remember the following:
- Stay focused
- Pay attention
- Expect the unexpected
Remember, safe driving protects you and others on the road. Keep your mind on your driving, your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel.