Distracted Driving Definition
Distracted driving is fatal. When the focus while driving is not on the road and anything else, termed as distracted driving. In other words, distracted driving is indulging in driving while doing some other activity along with it. The US alone experiences as many as eight deaths caused by a distracted driver.
Distracted driving can kill. Distracted driving is potentially dangerous for you and your dear-ones. When you look at the startling stats of how dangerous distracted driving can be, you will be shocked. In 2018 alone, 2841 people lost their life to hampered driving.
Distraction can be in any form, like:
- Staring at your phone screen while driving is one of the most common distractions.
- Grabbing things from the glove-box.
- Picking a packet of chips from the rear seat to eat.
- Also, with anything that takes your eyes away from the road.
Focused drivers can save and protect many lives by doing the right thing while driving. Not using a mobile phone will encourage your peer and family to consider healthy and safe driving practices. State laws also emphasize the importance of rules given our yearly stats and records.
NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) keeps posting more relevant information to update the laws and benefits of driving safely. Your state legislature defines the Laws related to distracted driving. Therefore, it is crucial to know about them in advance. Most of the states have laws on using cell phones and other distractions while driving on the road.
How US drivers are distracted while driving:
- Talking on mobile phones.
- Typing on mobile phones.
- Holding the mobile phone in one hand while driving.
- Wearing Bluetooth devices.
- Using navigation system.
- Singing and talking to fellow passengers.
- Eating or drinking
- Smoking while driving.
Types Of Distraction
Unless you have undivided attention on the road, you can not indulge in safe driving practice. Using a phone while driving is the most unsafe and alarming distraction. Imagine facing a 180 km per hour cricket ball while betting it will be safe to face it without a helmet? No. But using your phone while driving is precisely taking the same risk.
1. Visual Distraction
A distraction that will cause you to shift your gaze from the road to anywhere else. The most common type of distraction is visual distractions such as mobile phones, navigation screens, etc. Drivers are supposed to have their eyes on the road to make appropriate decisions while driving.
Using the phone while driving is the most common distraction the drivers indulge in while driving. Every look at the phone can shift your gaze for about 5 seconds for a two-line reply to a message. In most of the cases reported, distraction due to mobile phone stays on top of the list.
However, visual distractions are possible even without looking at your phone screen. Visual distraction can also be the beautiful beach on the side or passing by your favorite historical site. All will require shifting your eyes from the road to what you want to see.
2. Manual Distraction
Manual distracting will encourage you to take your hands off the steering wheel while driving. Similarly, manual distractions are fixing your side mirrors, clothes, navigation screen, music players, or even picking up something from the car floor that are severe and risky actions.
All of these require you to shift your hand from the wheel to the thing you want to pick up. Getting something to eat from your bag kept on the passenger seat will require you to shift your hands from the wheel. Making you vulnerable and prone to risky events on the road.
3. Cognitive Distraction
Cognitive factors are those that will take your mind off the driving waning cognitive impairment and your decision-making ability. Using a hand-free device or on a voice-activated car-system can cause you to shift your mind and attention from the road.
Cognitive factors can very well be the commonly found reasons. However, thinking or reminiscing about a particular dream, even being engrossed in some tension at work, or daydreaming can distract you.
It is essential to know about the facts and figures about distracted driving more, which can very well open your eyes. Here are some of them to reconsider your thoughts of distracted driving:
• 57% of people are more likely to stop being distracted while driving if a co-passenger brings to their notice that they are doing wrong.
• In a country where the total population stands at only 318.9 million, every year 2.5million are involved in road accidents. Shockingly, more than 37,000 people lose their lives every year.
• In 2018, 8% of all fatal road crashes in the US were reported due to distracted drivers. 15% of injury crashes reported were distraction-affected crashes. In 2018, distracted driving killed 506 nonoccupants such as pedestrians, pedestrians, cyclists, etc.
• It takes away at least 4.6 seconds from the road for reading one small text when using your mobile phone while driving. In simple words, you can very well cross one and a half football pitch in this period.
• As much as 8% of drivers involved in distracted driving are in their teen years. As many as 11 teens die every day due to texting while driving.
• When using your mobile phone while driving can reduce as much as 37% of concentration and brain activity.
• 48% of kids were found to be sitting in the vehicle driven by a distracted driver writing text. As much as 1600 children get killed because of this habit.
How We Can End Distracted Driving
1 – Teens
Teens are the best influencers in the current times. Best messengers to their friends and knowns. Therefore, they must understand the need to speak up and stop when they see a friend driving being distracted. Teens can very well ask their peers to vouch or take a pledge to never indulge in distracted driving.
Social media is fueled by the energy our teen generation brings in. They are making changes in society and bringing humanity back in innovative ways. Hashtags, signing an online petition supporting not to make distracted driving mistakes, and reminding the same again and again.
Teens are a powerhouse of energy and innovative ways to combat the problems at hand. From saving our planets to bringing positive changes, we can see young minds excel at every level. Teens can start getting involved in groups against destructive decisions as well.
Responsible teens today will become even responsible-focused drivers in the future. Furthermore, reducing the need to keep a check on them and experience the reputation of distracted driving.
2 – Parents & Educators
Parents are the best first teachers for their children. Educators and teachers further take the role of guiding kids on the right path through the learning curve. It is why they both play a crucial yet significant part in shaping young minds.
Young minds are like clean canvases, ready to be painted with the reality of life. If parents and teachers set an example in front of their young generation, we can very well ensure to save lives.
According to studies, 33.7 percent of the US parents participating in the survey indulged in distracted driving by texting on their phone while driving with children. It shows how alarming the technology level has become for us users.
Parents and teachers must indulge in open dialogue with their children to discuss how alarming driving situations can become. Share stories and past related stories to your children, making sure they get the implication of distracted driving. Emphasize the statistics related to the use of phones while driving. Parent teen driving agreements are a great start to break the ice of distracted driving with your teen children.
Parents and educators set behavioral examples, becoming role models in front of the coming generation for their social conduct. Unsafe distracted driving by parents can influence their children to follow their footprints to drive irresponsibly. Parents need to know and abide by the law themselves first to help their children learn to do the same.
3 – Drivers
Drivers are the ones who are on the front line, directly responsible for their actions and after-effects. Drivers need to understand that it is crucial to keep the focus on the road while driving. Multi-tasking while driving is not an advantage but a disadvantage for the driver.
Distractions are like fixing the rear mirror, setting your hair, using the navigation system, eating a bagel, texting, phone call, etcetera. Drivers should make sure to stop their vehicle on the side and do it, not while driving.
Make sure to be responsible on the road, especially when you are behind the wheel. Plan your route and fix it on your navigation system before starting to drive. Try and control your distraction by using apps to help avoid calls while driving or take your food and drinks before or after driving your vehicle.
Follow these tips while driving:
- Keep your phone or mobile device on silent.
- Use Bluetooth devices or hands-free voice controls.
- In case of emergency or critical calls, stop and pull over on the side.
- Use your phone before driving.
- Hand your phone to your co-passenger till the time you are going on the road.
4 – Passengers
Passengers are as involved and responsible for their safety while riding along with a driver as the driver themselves are responsible for it. While in a vehicle with a distracted driver, raise your alarm and ask them to shift their focus back on the road. Try and keep checking on the driver when such cases happen.
Make sure to help your driver keep the focus on-road by reducing their distraction, like offering to manage their navigation when needed. Always support your state laws by being an aware and active participant of the rules.
Passengers are responsible for their safety when ignoring any rash or distracting driving practices. Take a stand for your and other’s safety by choosing to control distractions while driving.
Try following ways to your distracted driver:
- Be vocal and directly bring the issue to their notice.
- Offer your help to make the calls, fix navigation, etcetera.
- Share facts and statistical data of distracted driving implications.
- Be affectionate while taking a stand for the wrong.
5 – How ItCanWait Simulator Can Help With This Problem
It can wait is a pledge program started by AT&T under their social responsibility pledge program to encourage safer driving on roads. So far, 40 million people have taken the pledge to make the world a better place by driving undistracted and save lives.
Sign the pledge and use the simulator to show what all can go wrong when driving distracted. Speak up and help reduce distracted driving around you. Virtual reality simulator It Can Wait helps and guides you with safe driving information.
Distractions are never considered a beneficial aspect of life. Distraction, the name in itself, is not positivity-inducing. Distracted driving facts tell us the same. Driving while being distracted and affected by several additional factors can prove fatal.
Driving on the road in a current busy life can take a toll on anyone given adverse conditions. While many still feel that using the phone to pick up a call or just reading a crucial text while driving is not harmful. We all consider ourselves to be the master of multi-tasking. But, are we able to do so? No. Our mind is designed to multi-task but, driving on roads and multi-tasking does not go hand-in-hand. Replying to emails while reaching the office is not going to safeguard us against colliding.
Driving without focusing on the road will bring you to an unsafe zone, where you can get injured. Most state laws will hold a distracted driver accountable, plus can be charged for reckless driving for penalty and jail time too.