Cell phones, tablets, and other electronic devices are a necessity in our personal and professional lives, but when operating a vehicle, their use takes your attention off of the road and can have serious consequences. Approximately 660,000 people are on electronic devices while driving a vehicle during daylight hours. This is a preventable way in which drivers are losing focus behind the wheel, endangering themselves and others.
Leading insurance carriers are finding that distracted driving is becoming more common as a cause of auto accident and claims increases. With gas prices decreasing, there are more people on the road, and distracted driving is taking its toll. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every day nine people lose their lives and over 1,100 people are injured in incidents involving distracted drivers. To ensure everyone’s safety on the road, drivers need to know what to do to avoid becoming another statistic.
To help put this issue into perspective, consider this: The average driver is able to perceive that a stop is required and react within 1.5 seconds. When the driver is using a cell phone or other electronic device, reaction time is more than doubled to 3.5 seconds. That means, if you are texting while driving 65 miles per hour, you need the length of an entire football field to achieve a complete stop!
3 Ways You Can Prevent a Distracted Driving Incident:
- Never use an electronic device to talk, text, or type while operating a vehicle. Pull over or leave the roadway before answering a call or responding to a text.
- If taking a call while on the road is unavoidable, use a hands-free system such as the device’s speakerphone function or a Bluetooth device. Please note that your attention will still be impaired, even though you’re able to keep both hands on the wheel.
- If necessary, turn the device off to ensure that it won’t distract you while driving.
But cell phones are not the only distraction drivers face. Other activities that can take your eyes off the road include adjusting vehicle controls, such as climate control, stereo, or seat position; attempting to retrieve objects out of your reach; grooming, such as shaving or applying cosmetics; eating or drinking; and tending to children or pets.
Take these steps before you start driving to help eliminate distractions:
- If using GPS, enter your destination and decide your route. Pull over if any changes are required along the way.
- Preset your stereo with any radio stations, music inputs, or other sound preferences.
- Adjust your seat to a comfortable position.
- Adjust your rear-view mirrors to minimize blind spots.
- Make sure that any items you may need during the trip are within reaching distance.
- If possible, designate a passenger to assist with any necessary adjustments, item retrieval, or navigation.
Don’t let distracted driving make you a statistic. Take all of the steps you can to stay safe behind the wheel!