There are about 421,000 people annually who are injured in a car accident due to distracted driving. As many get ready to travel for the holidays, the chances for distractions are higher than ever. Your family’s safety is the most important thing on the road. Getting educated, learning how to diminish distractions, and maintaining your car are the best ways to make sure your holidays are merry and bright.
Distracted Driving – Top 5 Distractions
- Not surprisingly, the biggest distraction while driving is TEXTING!
- This includes both sending and reading messages. Research shows that taking your eyes off the road while going freeway speeds is akin to driving across an entire football field with your eyes closed! That’s a massive distance to be distracted in such a short amount of time.
- Many people, teens especially, have a false sense of security because texting and driving are so commonplace now and don’t think twice about it. However, research also reports that a driver who is texting is six times more likely to crash than a drunk driver; that says a lot!
- Focusing on the radio, other entertainment devices, and your navigation system
- It takes an average of 3 seconds of distracted driving for an accident to occur. Whether you are turning up the volume because your favorite song just came on or you are checking the map for directions, taking your attention off of driving for any reason simply isn’t worth it.
- Interacting with the people in your vehicle
- Did you know that there is little difference in distracted driving behaviors when comparing motorists who are on their phone and those who are talking with their passengers? Speed fluctuation, mirror checks, and lane position are all effected and can have disastrous consequences.
- This is especially true for those under 25 years of age and for drivers with children in the car
- Eating and/or drinking
- A driver who is eating in the car is 44% slower to react and a driver who is drinking something is 22% slower to react. Those are huge percentages when even a fully alert driver can struggle with managing the circumstances of the road.
- Putting on make-up or other getting ready tasks
- Putting on make-up or other similar tasks means taking at least one hand off the wheel and possibly adjusting the rearview mirror. You immediately lose the control required to drive safely by not using two hands which increases your chances for an accident drastically! Not to mention, if you’ve adjusted the mirror, you can no longer check what is going on behind you which also increases your risk of an accident.
Remember that regardless of what the distraction is, any activity that takes away your attention from driving is unsafe and is not worth compromising the safety of you and any passengers.
How to Minimize Distractions
The good news about distracted driving is that limiting distractions is easy. It’s a matter of choice and a few easy tricks.
- Most phones now come equipped with a ‘Do Not Disturb While Driving’ feature. Your phone will save any incoming messages or notifications until after you are done driving. It will also send a message saying that the reason you are not responding is because you’re driving. There are also apps, such as TeenSafe, that help promote safe driving phone habits.
- If available, use controls on your vehicle’s steering wheel so as to avoid taking both hands off the wheel and to help keep your eyes on the road. Using wireless and Bluetooth devices whenever possible or using navigation systems that will give directions aloud are also safe driving best practices.
- Modeling and practicing what non-distracted driving looks like with passengers in the car is a great way for the whole family to understand what is and is not helpful while driving. This is also the perfect time to have discussions about expectations you have for your teens while driving.
- We are all guilty of using time in the car to get in some last-minute things, especially when running late. However, the reality is, we can choose not to eat, drink, or get ready in the car. Even when that might be inconvenient. Being committed to safe driving is well worth it.
- Lastly, it’s much easier to be a safe driver when you aren’t worried about the funny noise your car is making or if the AC/Heater is working or why your breaks are squeaking. By visiting one of our NARPRO approved auto repair shops, you can rest assured that your vehicle will not be an added distraction.
Remember, being a safe driver is about giving your full attention to the road by getting rid of hazardous distractions and implementing life long safe driving habits. Here at NARPRO we hope to give you all the necessary tools and care for you and your family to be safe out there.