Distracted driving is a public health issue that affects us all. The latest statistics show motor vehicle fatalities are up 6% from 2015. More than 40,000 people were killed on our nation’s roadways last year, and distracted driving is a major contributor.
Each death is 100% preventable. From cell phones to dashboard infotainment systems to evolving voice command features – all pose a threat to our safety. Just one second of your attention is all takes to change a life forever.
Distracted Driving Awareness Month in April is a united effort to recognize and eliminate preventable deaths from distracted driving. Join us to help save lives.
A guide to keeping you safe on the road, distraction occurs any time you take your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel, and your mind off your primary task: driving safely. Any non-driving activity you engage in is a potential distraction and increases your risk of crashing. Distracted driving is any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving.
All distractions endanger driver, passenger, and bystander safety. These types of distractions include:
- Using a cell phone or smartphone
- Eating and drinking
- Talking to passengers
- Reading, including maps
- Using a navigation system
- Watching a video
- Adjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player
There are three main types of distraction:
- Visual — taking your eyes off the road
- Manual — taking your hands off the wheel
- Cognitive — taking your mind off what you’re doing
Texting is the most alarming distraction because it involves manual, visual, and cognitive distraction simultaneously. Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field, blindfolded. It’s extraordinarily dangerous.
DO – Stay Safe:
- Use a seat belt at all times – driver and passenger(s).
- Adjust your driving for the conditions, including traffic, weather, pedestrians, rough roads and degree of light.
- Drive defensively.
- Use a hands-free device for phone use if you have to use the phone while driving.
- Be well-rested before driving.
- Avoid taking medication that makes you drowsy before driving, including prescription and over-the-counter drugs.
- Set a realistic goal for the number of miles that you can drive safely each day.
DO – Stay Focused:
- Driving requires your full attention. Avoid distractions, such as adjusting the radio or other controls, eating or drinking, and talking or texting on the phone.
- Continually search the roadway to be alert to situations requiring quick action.
- Stop about every two hours for a break. Get out of the vehicle to stretch, take a walk, and get refreshed.
- Be patient and courteous to other drivers.
- Reduce your stress by planning your route ahead of time (bring the maps and directions), allowing plenty of travel time, and avoiding crowded roadways and busy driving times.
- Adjust your speed and increase your following distance when carrying heavier than normal loads and when you are towing.
DON’T drive under the influence of drugs and or alcohol.
DON’T drive aggressively.
DON’T tailgate or speed.
DON’T take other drivers’ actions personally.
DON’T text and drive.
DON’T enter data in your GPS while driving.