Distracted driving is a serious problem, and all drivers should be aware of how distracted driving affects behavior on the road. Becoming educated about distracted driving is the first step toward making the roads safer. The second is to take action and choose to avoid driving distracted.
Did you know?
It is easy to become complacent about distracted driving. Thousands of people drive distracted every day. These drivers could be texting, looking up directions on a smartphone app, engaging in a conversation with passengers, listening to music, eating a snack, talking on a headset, or even just changing the radio station. All of these activities may seem harmless, especially if you do them every day, but the truth is that they can be dangerous and can prevent you from being an alert, fully-aware driver.
For example, you may think that sending a very short text message has no effect on your ability to drive. In fact, sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes off of the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. If you are traveling 55 mph, you could travel the entire length of a football field in that short period of time.4 Likewise, talking on the phone impairs your cognitive and physical ability to drive more than you might think.
The sad truth is, cell phones are not the only cause of distracted driving. There are a variety of other factors that can remove a driver’s attention from the road, endangering the safety of other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.
1"Distracted Driving - Key Facts and Statistics." Distraction.gov. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. http://www.distraction.gov/content/get-the-facts/facts-and-statistics.html.
2“Understanding the Distracted Brain: Why Driving While Using Hands-Free Cell Phones Is Risky Behavior.” April 2012. National Safety Council. http://www.nsc.org/safety_road/Distracted_Driving/Documents/Cognitive%20Distraction%20White%20Paper.pdf.
3“Distracted Driving 2011.” Traffic Safety Facts Research Note. April 2013. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811737.pdf.
4“Driver Distraction in Commercial Vehicle Operations.” September 2009. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. http://www.distraction.gov/research/PDF-Files/Driver-Distraction-Commercial-Vehicle-Operations.pdf.