Distracted driving covers a variety of activities that divert attention away from driving. This could include talking on the phone, texting, using social media while driving, eating/drinking, playing with the radio/navigation systems, or even talking to others in the car.
According to NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), distracted driving was responsible for 3,450 deaths in 2016. An additional 391,000 people were injured as a result of distracted driving in the same year, and 481,000 vehicles were being driven by people using a cell phone (https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/distracted-driving).
According to NHTSA, texting is one of the most alarming distractions, and that sending/reading a text can take your eyes off the road for approximately 5 seconds. If you are driving at 55 mph, this would be the equivalent of driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed (https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/distracted-driving).
How can you minimize your distractions when driving and protect yourself from injury by a distracted driver?
- Turn off electronic devices and keep them out of reach prior to starting to drive
- Map out your route prior to getting on the road
- Save the eating/drinking for when you are stopped and parked, at the restaurant, or at home
- Wear seatbelts
- If there is a call that you absolutely have to make, ask a passenger to make the call for you
- Set good examples when driving with teens in the car to help them develop good habits
Remember to practice safe driving habits year-round!
Graphic courtesy of NSC