Dangers of Distracted Driving
April marks National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. When it comes to the roads, safety should always be the top concern. Read on to learn more about the dangers of distracted driving.
What is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month?
Depending on where you live, driving a car may be necessary. Some of us simply love to drive. That’s perfectly fine, as long as the rules of the road are properly obeyed. After all, distracted driving can put both the driver and innocent pedestrians in harm’s way.
In a nutshell, distracted driving is any activity that diverts attention from driving. This can include any number of dangers, including talking or texting on a cell phone, eating or drinking, driving while drowsy, or even adjusting the radio. Any activity that takes a driver’s attention off the road can lead to disaster.
According to the National Safety Council, the estimated number of total motor-vehicle deaths for 2021 is 46,020. This is a rise of nine percent, from 42,339 in 2020. Beyond that, it is up 18 percent since 2019.
Those are scary numbers. Far too many of us severely underestimate these dangerous incidents. A reason for this is that it is often difficult to discern just how many accidents are caused by distractions.
Using a Phone While Driving?
Above all, it is always important to pay close attention to the road. To make matters worse, using a phone can further complicate matters.
Furthermore, texting can be extra dangerous. The simple act of sending or reading text messages takes a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of five seconds. To keep this in perspective, at highway speeds this is like driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed.
Wireless device records are usually only accessed in cases of death or serious injury. Additionally, many drivers are not always forthcoming about the cause of an accident. No matter what, it is crucial to keep both hands on the wheel, stay alert and avoid interruptions when on the road.
According to a report from the AAA Foundation, any use of cell phones can quadruple the risk of crashing. Typically, most people believe that these accidents are limited to handheld phones, but that may not be the case. Some studies show that simply having a conversation can take focus away from the road. AAA concludes that even though you aren’t holding the phone, it may not be totally risk free.
For safety’s sake, leave all calls and texting until after you stop the vehicle. Simply waiting could save your life and some lives of pedestrians.
Drowsy Driving Danger
Driving while drowsy can also be extremely dangerous. If you are fighting falling asleep, you won’t be paying close enough attention to the road. This can be even worse than texting.
If you find yourself too tired to drive, don’t take a risk. Instead, pull over and take a nap. Every driver should be fully alert and paying attention to the road. This will help to keep drivers and pedestrians safe from potential hazards.
Teens and Driving Safety
Besides phones, let’s talk about younger drivers. As we’ve covered in the past, teen drivers need to take extra care. Teens are often more likely to overload their car with friends or engage in dangerous behavior.
Besides texting, this includes driving under the influence. Obviously, teens shouldn’t be drinking anyway. Of course, just because they’re not supposed to doesn’t mean temptation won’t strike.
Now, drinking and driving do not mix. A buzzed or drunk driver cannot react quickly enough during a disaster. A single mistake can radically change or even end a teen’s life. Make sure your kids understand the risks. And be sure to practice what you preach. This advice is in no way specific to teens.
In fact, parents should always lead by example when it comes to driving. Teens may be ready to get behind the wheel, but they still are learning. Setting a good example can help prevent distracted driving and more.