I was driving in my car the other day and the person in front of me was swerving a bit. I switched lanes so that I could make my turn and was right next to this car that was just swerving. I looked over and saw this lady on her phone scrolling through Facebook. The phone was mounted next to her steering wheel and she was scrolling through her phone like it was second nature. The light changed and I turned and as I glanced in my rearview mirror I could see that the lady hadn’t turned yet. As I drove away I started wondering if this was something that people did often and I just didn’t know about it.
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 mobile phone or other electronic devices. According to the CDC, there are 3 types of distracted driving Manual, Visual, and Cognitive. Manual distractions would be taking your hands off the wheel for any reason. Visual distractions are defined as looking at something other than the road that is ahead of you. Cognitive distractions would be defined as getting lost in thought. I am going to add Auditory distraction as well which is focusing on a sound that is not related to driving.
Many of us have driven while distracted at some point in our driving lifetime. Whether it’s turning up your favorite song on the radio, adjusting the temperature, or simply having a conversation, we have all done it. Every type of distraction increases your chances of a car crash, injury, or even death. Distracted driving causes 9 deaths a day that’s about 3,500 per year according to the CDC. In 2019 8.5% of fatal crashes were caused by distracted driving.
The Zebra created a list of the top 10 distractions while driving
- Lost in thought
- Cell phone use
- Looking at something outside of the car
- Someone in the car
- Using a device within the car, other than a phone
- Eating or drinking
- Adjusting the radio or the A/C
- Using a function such as a cruise control
- Moving objects
People are distracted when they are not paying attention to the road. According to the National Safety Council, 26% of all car crashes involve cell phone use. The NHTSA states that over 1000 people are injured in accidents every day where there was at least one person distracted while driving. The scariest part for me at least is that drivers combine these distractions while they drive. Drivers may smoke while texting, or eat their favorite burger while searching for their favorite song. It only takes a moment for an accident to happen. Think about how many times you have had to slam on your brakes because someone cut you off. Imagine if you hadn’t been paying attention at that specific moment. It could have been deadly. What can we do to prevent distracted driving? It really is pretty simple, pay attention to the road and the action of driving.