Distracted Driving 101
Did you know distracted driving causes an estimated 5,000 deaths each year? This approximation, founded by studies by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, includes driver distraction in all its many forms, including texting, eating, cell phone use, and more. Anything that pulls the driver’s attention away from driving, whether by visual, mental, or physical means, is considered a distraction and could put everyone on the road in danger.
Below, see the different types of driver distraction, and why they’re to be avoided.
Most states have prohibited the use of hand-held cell phones while driving, leading to a spike in the use of hands-free devices. Unfortunately, this alternative hasn’t proved any safer. In fact, a study by the National Safety Council found that drivers speaking on the phone, either hand-held or hands-free, suffered the same setbacks while driving. More specifically, both sets of drivers only saw 50% of the road in front of them while holding a phone conversation, regardless of the extra use of their hands.
Talking on the phone while driving is exceedingly unsafe because it distracts the driver from the task at hand. While some argue that talking on the phone is no different than talking to a passenger, a passenger has the ability to watch the road with you, and could warn you of unseen dangers whereas someone on the other end of a call could not.
A commonly discussed, but useful study, revealed that in the time that it takes to look at your phone, the average driver going 55 miles per hour has their eyes off of the road for the entire length of a football field. Obviously, this is extremely dangerous. A car could swerve toward you in that time, or a dog could run out in front of your car, or you could drift into oncoming traffic. The possibilities are endless, and very harmful.
Other Smartphone Use
While smartphone use becomes more and more common, more drivers find the access to endless entertainment too tempting to resist. From our smartphones we can go online, open apps, take videos, and do so much more. However, doing this while driving is very distracting. A study by State Farm Insurance even found that more drivers check email, scroll through social media, or use an app while driving than those who text. Whether you are swiping, clicking, or tapping, whichever way you cut it, cell phone use while driving is distracting and unsafe.
Eating while driving can be extremely convenient, especially with drive-through restaurants at every corner, but try to resist the temptation. Eating while driving can divert your attention from the road suddenly, and it requires that you physically remove at least one hand from the wheel. Driving with only one hand, especially while holding something in the other, can put the driver off-balance, and make it more difficult to turn or avoid road hazards and other obstacles when necessary.
Whether you’re putting on lipstick or double checking your hair, grooming in the car is a distraction. Usually it requires the use of your mirror, which means you move your eyes away from the road in front of you. Avoid doing so, and finish your primping and priming before you leave or once you’ve safely arrived at your destination.
If you were in an accident with a distracted driver, you may be able to seek compensation. Contact Traywick Law Offices for a free consultation.