Most people don't get behind the wheel of their car with the intention of killing someone. Unfortunately, due to some of the poor habits that people choose to exhibit while they drive, they become a killer. Each day 9 people die, and more than 1,100 people are injured because of the habits of distracted drivers. This has had such an impact, that many states have passed laws to address these behaviors. Are you a distracted driver? If so, knowing some of the risk factors may make you rethink your actions.
What Are Driving Distractions?
When you ask most people about driving distractions, they can only think of one or two things, but there are actually a wide variety of driving distractions that can occur. A driving distraction falls into three distinct categories. They are made up of any behavior that:
- Takes your eyes off the road.
- Takes your hand, or hands off the wheel.
- Takes your mind off of your driving.
Some of the most common ones are listed below.
Eating and drinking - This is something that most people do at one time or another. It is a seemingly innocent task that could result in horrendous outcomes. Spilling stuff in your lap can take your eyes off the road, your hand off the wheel, and your mind off of what you are supposed to be doing. Fill up before you get behind the wheel. If you go through the drive through, wait until you get to where you are going before you indulge.
Using your rearview mirror as a bathroom mirror - No matter how short you are on time, it is never a good idea to put on your makeup, or run down your stray whiskers while driving. This is because multitasking simply does not work. Although you may be able to get both tasks accomplished by the time you get where you are going, it is at the risk of being distracted. Get your grooming done before you leave home, or take a few seconds in the parking lot once you arrive.
Attempting to babysit and drive - While the back seat is the safest place for the children to ride, it forces you to take your eyes off the road to see what is happening back there. Reaching back to tend to your children, can put you and them at a high risk of an accident. Pull over before you attempt to tend to your children. You can save your life, as well as theirs.
Getting behind the wheel when you have not had enough sleep - The news is full of long distance truck drivers that cause accidents by falling asleep behind the wheel. Unfortunately, they are not the only ones. The National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that drowsy driving creates more than 100,000 crashes each year. These crashes cause more than 40,000 injuries and over 1,500 deaths.
If you feel yourself getting drowsy while you are driving, take the time out to stop and walk around a few minutes, this will get your blood circulating and help to wake you up. If you still have a distance to go, considering stopping for the night, or at least pulling over and getting a few winks.
Rubbernecking, or paying attention to roadside distractions - The power of observation is one of the traits that have kept the human race alive. While keen observation abilities can help you be a good defensive driver, they can also cause you to take your eyes off of the road. Distractions can be other accidents, billboards, unusual events, and more. Remember to keep your focus on what you are doing, and on the road.
Talking, texting, taking photos, and more - Personal cell phones have introduced many new distractions to driving that were not there twenty years ago. Numerous campaigns have been lodged to not only educate about the dangers of texting, and talking while driving, but to convince states to put stronger laws in place. While 71% of young people admit that they have composed or sent a text while driving, they are not the only ones.
The next time you are tempted to text, talk, or drive, just remember the risks you are putting yourself, and other drivers on the road at. If you are traveling at 55 mph, and you take your face off the road for 5 seconds, you have just traveled the length of a football field.
Do not become a statistic. If you are guilty of driving while you are distracted, change your ways, and save a life. Check out the site here to find a local lawyer if you are in an accident.