The Risks of Distracted Driving

by Sara Waldron on February 21, 2017

What should you know about distracted driving?

Any activity that could divert a driver’s attention away from properly operating a vehicle is distracted driving. All these distractions can endanger the driver, passenger, and bystanders’ safety. There are many types of driving distractions including eating, cell phone usage, grooming, and adjusting a radio or CD player. In fact, text messaging is by far the most alarming distraction to a driver. This is due to the fact that it requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention by the driver. Driving distracted leads to an increase chance of a motor vehicle crash. The next time you feel the need to text someone while driving, remember at 55 mph the average text can take your eyes off the road long enough to cover a football field. Is that text really that important?

distracted Driving pic

How can you make a difference?

Did you know that each day in the U.S. over 8 people are killed and 1,161 are injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver? These are only the actual numbers that are reported to law enforcement. There are many state and federals laws that ban texting while driving and that use graduate driver licensing systems for teen drivers. These actions are being done to raise awareness of distracted driving and to stop it from occurring. The best way to end distracted driving is to educate everyone about the dangers it poses.


Tips to Avoid Distracted Driving

    1. Use your cell phone for emergency situations only. Keep your cell phone only for emergency use while driving. If you need to use your phone, it’s best to pull over on the shoulder of the road to make a call. Using the hands-free devices can still distract you from missing driving cues to avoid an accident. Some states now offer a spot to pull over to text on your phone so you are not tempted to do it while driving.
    2. Do not drive if you are drowsy. If you feel tired, pull off the road. It’distracted Driving pic 2s more important to get home safely. Don’t take the risk to try to get there faster. In fact, drowsy driving increases the risk of a crash by nearly four times.
    3. Do not eat while you’re driving. Eating a meal in the car may seem like a good way to save time in the morning or on the way home. But this activity diverts your attention from other drivers on the road and slows down your defensive responses. Don’t worry about food spilling in your car by planning extra time to eat before getting into the car.
    4. Limit the number of passengers or level of activity inside the car. This is an easy way to reduce your chances of being distracted. Novice drivers are more likely to lose focus and be distracted by friends or other activity in the car. Remember driving is a huge responsibility and life’s other events can wait until you pull the car over safely.
    5. Multi-tasking is a great skill, but not in the car. Multi-tasking is a great life skill to have and to be more productive. This skill should not be used while driving. Many people spend a lot of time in their vehicles and want to use the time to get little things done. The chance of distraction isn’t worth it. For once, forget the to-do list and just concentrate on driving.

distracted Driving pic 1

Distracted driving is a growing issue due to the increase in technology and smart phones. Try following some of those tips to reduce distracted driving and arrive at your destination safely. Like the BSU Outreach Education page on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and Twitter @bsuoutreach, and check out our calendar for upcoming events on the Involvement Network.

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