Distracted driving is defined as “the practice of driving a motor vehicle while engaged in another activity, typically one that involves the use of a cellular phone or electronic device”. Checking and replying to text messages or logging into social media pages, for example, are activities that take your attention away from the road and can increase a driver’s chance for a collision. Eating or grooming while driving are also common dangerous distractions.
Learning more about the types of activities that can divert your attention away from safely driving your car can help you avoid these types of distractions, keeping you and other drivers much safer on the road.
Important Distracted Driving Facts to Know
Distracted driving is generally broken down into the following three categories:
- Visual – taking your eyes off the road.
- Manual – taking your hands off the wheel.
- Cognitive – taking your mind off driving.
Talking on your cell phone, fiddling with your navigation system, mp3 player or stereo, having a snack from the drive through or applying a fresh coat of lip gloss can all be forms of distracted driving. However, texting while driving is the most serious form of distracted driving, because it combines all three of the categories above. Visual, because you’re looking at your phone and not the road, manual, because one or possibly both hands are off the wheel tapping out a message to someone, and cognitive, because as you’re composing a message, even a quick reply, you aren’t thinking about the road ahead of you.
Drivers in their 20s make up 27% of distracted drivers involved in fatal crashes.
When texting, the average person’s eyes are off the road for at least five seconds. While this doesn’t seem like a long time, if you’re traveling at a rate of 55 mph, that’s enough time to drive nearly one and a half times the entire length of a football field.
69% of drivers in the US ages 18-64 state that they have talked on their cell phone while driving, while 31% of U.S. drivers the same age report that they read or reply to text messages while driving.
One quarter of teens respond to a text message once or more EVERY time they drive. In fact, 20% of teens state they have extended conversations via text message while driving!
In 2013, over 3,100 people were killed due to distracted driving, while over 424,000 people were injured.
Education about distracted driving is important for drivers of any age. Distractions of any kind endanger you, other drivers, and pedestrians. Many states have enforced laws banning texting while driving, but the temptation to pick up that phone remains. Remember, it can wait! If you really need to respond to a text message, wait until you’re safely off the road, parked in a driveway or parking lot. Technology and distractions continue to increase in the environment we live in. Understanding the risks associated with driving by itself is key to helping make proper decisions of when and how you choose to use your cell phone or other distractions when driving. Is it really worth your life or someone else’s?
DriveTeam offers teen driving classes and corporate driver training to teach drivers of all ages how to be safe, confident and conscientious while behind the wheel. Contact us today for more information.