The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines distracted driving as “any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system—anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving.”
In 2017, 3,166 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers. And the National Safety Council (NSC) reports that every day, at least nine Americans die and 100 are injured in distracted driving crashes.
April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month
The NSC created Distracted Driving Awareness Month to drive home the importance of paying attention to the road and being a responsible, safe driver. It’s vital not only to your own safety and any passengers in your vehicle, but also to those sharing the road with you. This month, take the pledge to just drive and eliminate the distractions threatening that safety. Remember, whatever the situation may be, it can almost always wait until you’ve arrived at your destination.
Avoid These Driving Distractions
There’s no doubt that drivers face a wide variety of distractions behind the wheel today. Incoming text messages and emails, touchscreen navigation systems, voice commands and other in-vehicle technologies can easily take your attention away from the most important task at hand: safely driving the vehicle. Here’s a list of some of the most common driving distractions, as well as what you can do to avoid them this Distracted Driving Awareness Month and beyond.
- Cell phones. Talking, listening, reading that tiny screen, answering text messages – cell phones are a huge distraction behind the wheel. Put your cell phone away when you’re driving so it’s out of sight, or even simply switch it off for the duration of your trip so you aren’t tempted to reach for it. If you absolutely need to use your cell phone in the car, wait until you can pull off the road into a parking lot or safe area to do so.
- Reaching for objects. Every time you reach for something in your car, whether it’s for your lip balm, your cell phone charger or to hit a button on your navigation system, your eyes are not on the road. In that split second, an obstruction could appear in the road, whether it’s a ladder falling off the truck you’re following or an animal darting out of the woods. Anything you need can wait until you’re at a stoplight or your final destination.
- Rubber-necking. Humans are curious creatures by nature, so when something out of the ordinary appears, like an accident or a new billboard advertising your favorite taco place, it’s not uncommon to crane your neck to catch a glimpse as you’re passing it by. While it’s important to be aware of your surroundings, make sure your main focus is on the road.
- Other passengers. Maybe you’ve picked up three of your friends and you’re heading out for the evening to see your favorite band. And, maybe your friends keep switching the songs on your iPod or are singing along at the top of their lungs. Enforce the rule in your car that you cannot be distracted while you’re driving. The fun can wait until you arrive at your destination, and it’s much more important that you keep everyone in the vehicle safe until you get there.
- Daydreaming. The lull of the road and some quiet time alone offers the perfect opportunity to get lost in your thoughts. Don’t let your mind start to wander while you’re driving, as it’s easy to lose your focus and attention.
Drive Team is a premier driving school, offering teen driving classes and corporate driver training to drivers of all ages to ensure everyone stays as safe as possible behind the wheel. Contact us today for more information.