Updated: Dec 3, 2020
The Dangers of Distracted Driving
There are accidents that cannot be completely avoided. That’s a fact. And then there are some that unfortunately could have been. Even though many vehicles today have great safety features, it is not a substitute for keeping your eyes on the road.
What is considered Distracted Driving?
If you are not giving your complete attention to the road, the cars around you, and the speed limit, you are driving distracted. (This information does not include driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.) According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, three types of distracted driving exist:
Manual distraction: when a driver takes their hands off the wheel to adjust the radio, reach for an item, or pet their dog.
Visual distraction: when a driver takes their eyes off the road to look at an accident, glance at a text message, or look at their kids in the back seat.
Cognitive distraction: when a driver takes their mind off the act of driving to daydream, think about a problem at work, or consider their grocery list.
These distractions may seem minor, but a lot can happen in an instant
According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), 31% of drivers are distracted by their dogs in the car. While 80% of people admitted to driving frequently with their pets, only 17% used a pet restraint, such as a seat belt or kennel. A driver is eight times more likely to be involved in a crash when reaching for an object and three times more likely to crash while eating or drinking.
Distracted driving — including texting while driving is the cause of more than 58% of crashes involving teen drivers.
The details on texting
Texting is the most alarming driving distraction. Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that's like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.
Being a good defensive driver can help you avoid other distracted drivers. The key to any good defensive driving strategy is knowing how to avoid traffic crashes and recognize potential hazards before it’s too late.