Let’s strive to be better when it comes to distracted driving.
What does it mean to drive while distracted?
Distracted driving is described as engaging in an activity while driving that pulls your attention away from the task of driving safely. Both inside and outside of your vehicle, distractions might occur. There are many statistics about distracted driving, but consider this: according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 3,142 distracted driving fatalities in 2019 (up 9.9% from 2018). This indicates that more people are getting behind the wheel and are not putting 100% of their effort into driving safely. Consider the likelihood that everyone else on the road is distracted and not driving appropriately, the next time you get behind the wheel.
What kinds of distracted driving are there?
Visual distractions are things that may draw your eyes away from the road ahead. Advertisements, signs, or even recent accidents can distract you from looking at the road. A manual distraction is anything that forces you to remove your hands from the steering wheel. Eating food and handling radio/climate controls can distract you manually, even if it is brief. A cognitive distraction is anything that diverts your attention away from driving in general. Being on the phone, dealing with passengers in the backseat, and talking in general can all be considered cognitive distractions as they can take your attention away from the most important task, driving safely.
What are some of the possible causes for you to look away from the road?
Driving necessitates making quick adjustments to car controls, checking your mirrors, and reading road signs. Keep in mind that taking your eyes off the road for even a fraction of a second can be dangerous, as situations and circumstances change all the time.
What are some of the reasons you might want to take your hands off the wheel?
Taking one hand off the steering wheel indicates that you are attempting to modify a car control, reaching for something, or simply prefer to drive one-handed. Adjusting a car control should always be swift, and you should learn to do it without taking your eyes from the road if possible. Reaching for anything may not seem like a huge concern, but it’s all too easy to unintentionally pull the steering wheel in the wrong direction. When you reach for something, it could mean that your attention is split between driving securely and the item you’re reaching for.
Is driving with one hand safe?
Although there are no regulations against one-handed driving, it is not encouraged, particularly for novice or inexperienced drivers. Consider this: even professional race car drivers do not operate their vehicles with one hand. Why should you, a driver with far less expertise than a racing car driver, attempt to drive one-handed? When driving with one hand on the steering wheel, you automatically lose control of your vehicle, especially when traveling at higher speeds or over curves.
What are some of the reasons you might be distracted from driving?
Cell phone use, both talking and texting, is without a doubt the leading cause of drivers not giving it their all when it comes to driving safely. Consider how your emotions influence your driving and how they may drive you to focus on events in your life rather than safe driving.
What are the most common driving distractions?
- talking on the phone
- eating or drinking
How can we avoid driving while distracted?
Parents, employers, law enforcement, and insurance companies all work to encourage safe, distraction-free driving by rewarding good behavior and penalizing bad behavior. Several apps are even available to encourage distraction-free driving. Tools are always useful, but the most important thing is to take responsibility and practice self-control. Only you have control over your actions; no one else has that power.
How do you practice driving without being distracted?
- Recognize that your automobile is a weapon that must be handled with extreme caution.
- Recognize that distracted driving is an issue.
- Consider yourself a role model for others; demonstrate what safe driving should entail.
- Allow enough time for you to reach your location safely.
- Before you start driving, figure out how to get to your location.
- Before driving, tie up any loose ends (once your vehicle is in motion, safe driving is the priority, period).
- If you absolutely must use your cellphone, pull over to the side of the road first.
Making rules for yourself and sticking to them may be challenging at first. Make an effort to improve.
Authored by Eman Youssef – Curriculum Manager