Car accidents are often caused by drivers distracted at the wheel. Unfortunately, any type of distracted driving not only endangers the person driving the vehicle, but passengers, other motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists. Although the majority of people have heard just how dangerous distracted driving is, many people still choose to engage in other activities while driving, or they aren’t aware that their actions behind the wheel could cause harm.
What Is Distracted Driving?
When someone is distracted from the primary task of driving, he or she is participating in distracted driving. Unfortunately, it is a very dangerous and extremely risky activity to engage in behind the wheel. In fact, distracted driving is responsible for eight deaths and 1,161 injuries each day in this nation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
When someone engages in any type of distracted driving, his or her hands are off the wheel, mind is off of driving safely, and eyes are off the road. Even when one or all of these things occur for a matter of seconds, it can lead to a serious motor vehicle accident.
Beware of Dangerous Distracted Driving Activities
There are many different types of distracted driving behaviors that drivers engage in behind the wheel. Some of the most common and most dangerous distracted driving activities include:
- Texting and driving. Many drivers believe they can safely multitask behind the wheel, but the numbers tell a different story. Texting while driving causes about 330,000 accidents per year. According to Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, texting and driving can increase a driver’s crash risk by up to 23 times. This is because this activity causes a driver to take his or her eyes off the road for an average of 23 seconds, which is way too long to not be looking at the road.
- Using cell phones and smartphones. Whether drivers are scanning through their emails, watching videos, conducting FaceTime calls, or using their phones for a different purpose, any activity that involves a cell phone behind the wheel can endanger drivers, their passengers, and innocent bystanders. Even talking on a cell phone—both handheld and hands-free—can be distracting and dangerous.
- Using devices within the car. Many people look away from the road to select music stations, adjust the vehicle’s temperature, or use their maps and navigation systems. Although these activities seem innocent, anything drivers do that takes their eyes off the road and attention away from driving—even for a split-second—can cause a crash.
- Eating and drinking. Many people get fast food and eat in their cars. Whether it is a coffee and pastry during the morning commute or a hamburger at lunch, any type of eating and drinking while the car is moving is considered risky.
- Dealing with passengers or pets. When drivers turn their heads to deal with a child in the back seat or a rambunctious dog jumping over the seat, they are taking their eyes off the road. Even the act of talking with passengers and looking at them can put the entire vehicle in jeopardy.
- Grooming. Some people choose to shave, brush their teeth, comb their hair, and even change clothes while they are driving—all dangerous activities that can lead to distracted driving accidents.
- Smoking. When drivers light up, smoke, or put ashes in the tray, they are taking their eyes off the road and mind off of driving. Oftentimes smoking can cause people to get lost in their thoughts, which can be a major concern at the wheel.
On some level, distracted driving affects every single driver on the road. The best way to end distracted driving is to share the facts and to encourage those around you to put down their phones and focus on the road when they are in the driver’s seat. Please feel free to share our article with your friends and family on Google+ or your favorite social media site and help end unnecessary distractions on the road.