It’s easy to become distracted while driving, particularly in today’s world of 24/7 media; we are constantly surrounded by information while on the road, from billboards to radio to our smartphones and even our own thoughts.
But multitasking, no matter how much we may do it at work or at home, is dangerous while driving and can result in an accident causing serious injuries or even death.
Most Common Ways We Distract Ourselves on the Road
Everyone is different, but there is a good chance you’ve found yourself doing one of the following (or more!) while driving, even if you know it isn’t safe. And if you haven’t, you probably have seen another driver doing them.
Here are the most common distractions we find ourselves giving in to while we should be concentrating on the road:
- Cell phones. Whereas once we only had to worry about getting a call while driving, now many of us are tempted to keep up with our lives while driving, particularly via text, email or social media.
- Eating. We’re busy people, and sometimes we have to eat on the go. Eating in the car while driving, however, can be a major distraction and very quickly becomes dangerous.
- Changing the radio or music. Whether we’ve got the radio on or are streaming music via Bluetooth, attempting to change what we are listening to or altering the volume is a top distractor for drivers.
- Reading a map. Looking at a map or directions takes our eyes off the road for critical seconds and often can cause us to unknowingly slow down, speed up or swerve.
- Talking to other passengers. Getting in a conversation with others in the car is natural but sometimes can become a danger to everyone’s safety. Whether it’s an animated story, a boring conversation or an argument, our thoughts and eyes can wander.
- Looking or reaching for something in your car. Maybe you dropped a napkin or you need a pen. Searching your car while driving not only takes your eyes off the road but also your hands off the wheel and sometimes even your feet off the gas.
- Personal grooming. Maybe you didn’t have time to brush your hair or pluck your eyebrows at home or you want to apply lipstick before a big meeting. Sometimes people even shave in the car! But doing these tasks while driving and using your rearview mirror or another reflective surface in the process is not safe for you or others.
It is important to note that because of how dangerous texting and driving is, it is against the law for drivers in Kentucky under the age of 18 to be on a mobile device while driving, and it is illegal for every driver to text while a car is in motion. Other states, such as Indiana and Ohio, have instituted similar laws, and violators can face large fines and deductions of points from their license. In fact, 48 states have banned texting while driving.
The Dangers of Distracted Driving
When it comes to the repercussions of distracted driving, there are many. Here are some of the most recent statistics for the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):
- Up to 660,000 people use electronic devices each day while driving.
- In 2017, the NHTSA reported 3,166 people were killed in distracted driving accidents.
- In 2017, 6 percent of all drivers involved in fatal crashes were distracted at the time of the accident.
- In 2017, 599 people were killed by a distracted driver while not occupying a vehicle themselves (pedestrians, bicyclists, etc.)
- In 2018, 1,730 drivers, 605 passengers, 400 pedestrians and 77 cyclists were killed by distracted driving accidents.
- Sending or reading a text while driving at 55 miles per hour is the equivalent of driving with your eyes closed for the entirety of a football field.
- The percentage of drivers aged 16-24 handling a device while driving increased from 0.4 percent in 2006 to 3.9 percent in 2017.
Texting and driving is dangerous, and it’s on the rise. Take a pledge to protect yourself and your loved ones, and don’t text while driving. If you or a loved one is injured in an auto accident by a distracted driver, you have the right to seek compensation.
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