Distracted driving is defined as; “Any activity a person engages in that has the potential to distract him or her from the primary task of driving.” The experts say there are 3 categories:
- Visual – Taking your eyes off the road.
- Manual – Taking your hands off the wheel.
- Cognitive – Taking your mind off what you are doing.
Ok, the first two make sense. But that last one is a doozy. I can hardly keep my mind on the task of eating breakfast! Is changing my radio taking my mind off the task? If I think about a funny joke while going down the road, am I taking my mind off the task of driving? Well, by definition, yes! We have to accept that as human beings, distractions will occur naturally and we can’t stop driving distractions altogether. But where do we draw the line? That’s the real debate.
Listed below are some of the more common forms of distracted driving. Check out the facts in each article and pass it along. We all know somebody who finds it necessary to drive distracted!
Common Forms of Distracted Driving
Texting While Driving
Texting while driving is extremely dangerous, there is no question left about that. Cell phones recovered from vehicles after crashes have often shown incomplete text messages, apparently written just before the crash (and never completed). Yet, just like drunk driving, there are many people who believe they are “good” at it or “better than everyone else” at texting while driving. As foolish as this sounds, it is a serious problem. We live in a society where everyone must have full access to their friends and family anytime. If a text message comes in, people don’t like taking the time to pull into a parking lot or wait until they arrive at their destination. Excuses are always made for “just this one time” and when somebody gets away with it once, they do it again and again, increasing the chances they will be involved in a major accident, hurting themselves or someone else. All over text messaging. Hard to believe people still take the risk.
Cell Phones And Driving
Cell phones and driving just don’t mix well. Ever since car phones (remember those?) began increasing in popularity during the 90’s, it quickly became obvious we had a problem. That problem only got worse as cell phones became affordable by nearly everyone in the country. Now, close to 100% of drivers on the roadways have a cell phone in the vehicle with them, usually within arms reach. Over the years, we’ve tried hands-free devices like Bluetooth and in-car speaker systems, yet, accident rates among those on the phone continue to be extremely high. In this article, we will go into why that happens and what is really behind the numbers. While cell phones may have advanced to a point they are hands-free, your mind is still occupied. And there lies the problem.
Imagine getting engrossed in an interesting conversation with your friend or getting in a heated argument with a sales agent over the phone while you’re driving? Nobody this occupied can say they can concentrate on driving.
Come learn all about cell phone driving and be enlightened to the real dangers.
Eating While Driving
When people think of distracted driving, they usually think about cell phones, GPS systems, and other distracting electronics in vehicles. But most people don’t think about one of the oldest and most dangerous forms of distracted driving in existence today… Eating while driving. Yes, eating while driving is arguably even more dangerous and is possibly responsible for more deaths than texting while driving. In fact, did you know coffee is the most dangerous item to have in your car in terms of distractions? What is your first reaction when coffee splashes out of the cup and onto your lap, leather seat, or nice carpeting? You can’t help but to take your focus away from the road, especially if the hot coffee is burning your skin. I don’t expect McDonald’s, Starbucks, or Burger King to enjoy this article, but it may open your eyes to the dangerous truth of eating while driving.
Driving With Dogs
Remember back in the 60’s when dogs were left out back and lived in a dog house? Well, neither do I, but I’m pretty sure that was a frequent occurrence. A far cry from how humans and dogs associate today! These days, dogs are like family members. And why not? Dogs bring a huge amount of joy into our lives and let’s face it, spoiling dogs and bringing joy into their lives is so rewarding. As such, families are including dogs into their daily activities more and more. Some people couldn’t imagine going to the park while leaving the dog at home! Yet, at the same time, everyone in the family buckles their seatbelt except for the dog! How can this be? Dogs need protection from accidents, too, not to mention the fact dogs can become projectiles and injure any passengers in the vehicle during a crash. This article will explain how driving with dogs can be done safely while keeping everyone happy.
Top Ten Driving Distractions
There’s more to driving distractions than cell phones and GPS devices. In fact, a recent study conducted was able to create a top 10 list. Some of the items on this list aren’t very surprising while others are a bit shocking. One thing is for certain, the number of driving distractions available in cars recently has skyrocketed. When cars were first invented over 100 years ago, they didn’t even have cup holders. About the only driving distraction they had back then was a pretty lady walking down the street. But eventually, the creature comforts worked their way in. From AM radios in the 40’s and 50’s to miniature flat screen televisions and on-board computers that so many have in their vehicles today, the number of driving distractions continues to rise. These are simply the top 10 out of thousands of distractions.
Distracted Driving Facts and Figures
According to surveys from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 2,800 Americans were killed and an estimated 400,000 were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver. Around 1 in 5 of those people who died were not in cars, but simply walking, riding their bikes, or otherwise outside of a vehicle.
Distracted Driving Is The New Drunk Driving
Incredibly, it has taken many decades for people to realize that driving while drunk is incredibly dangerous. Not only is the drunk driver putting him or herself in danger, but the rest of the motoring public has to risk their lives due to somebody else’s stupidity (yes, if you drive drunk you are stupid). While some people are still completely brain dead and drive drunk anyway, we have made a ton of progress on drunk driving and our roadways are becoming safer because people are finally waking up to the true number of people killed every year by selfish drunks. Unfortunately, as one problem gets solved, a new problem surfaces!
Many studies are showing that distracted driving is even more dangerous than drunk driving. To make matters worse, since distracted driving is normally temporary, it is hard to proactively catch and arrest distracted drivers. Instead, distracted drivers easily get away with their dangerous behavior, often completely unnoticed by the drivers around them. Once a driver gets away with distracted driving once, it happens again and again until an accident happens. Every time a distracted driver gets away with it, they are more confident the next time. This is very much the same psychological effect of drunk driving. The more one drives drunk, the more comfortable they get doing it. Most studies indicate that drunk drivers typically are caught after they have driven drunk at least 80 times already. Eventually, their number comes up.
You Aren’t That Important!
Have you noticed how suddenly, everyone in the World is insanely important? Everyone has to be able to talk to all their friends, family, and co-workers at a moments notice. Driving has become boring and people use phone calls as a way to pass the time while sitting in traffic. For cryin’ out loud – you aren’t that important! The phone call can wait, that’s what voicemail is for. The text message will still be there when you’ve finished driving. If you really ARE that important, find a parking lot to pull into. But really, you’re probably not that important. Sorry to break it to ya!
Distracted Driving Is SELFISH!
Just like with drunk driving, if you drive distracted you are a selfish individual and deserve any penalty or hardships that come your way because of it. By driving distracted, you are basically telling everyone else on the road that you are more important than them and you don’t care if they get hurt or killed because of your own reckless actions. Of course, most distracted drivers think they are “good at it” or special or can somehow evade the dangers. Again, the similarities between drunk drivers and distracted drivers are many. Unfortunately, with distracted drivers, they don’t have the excuse that alcohol clouded their judgment. They have poor judgment sober!
How You Can Help Stop Distracted Driving
Using cellphones and other devices is the most common reason for distracted driving. This is why in some states, using your cellphone behind the wheel is against the law.
We’ve all tried sending a text while driving at least once in all our lives. (I know I have!) And while we may have gotten away with it in the past, there’s no saying that we won’t get hurt or in trouble for it the next time around.
Be responsible for your actions when you’re behind the wheel. There’s no reason that the text message you’re itching to answer can’t be answered when your hands are free and you’re off the road. Put your phone in “Driving” or “Silent” mode to avoid getting distracted by notifications.
Alternatively, when you know that someone you’re texting is driving, wait for them to be in the clear before you continue bugging them with your questions or news. We all have to work together to be safe on the road.