Distracted driving is classified as any activity that takes the attention off the roadway, this includes talking and texting on the phone, eating or drinking, talking to someone within the vehicle, fiddling with the entertainment, stereo or navigation system, and even drowsiness behind the wheel. All these activities could result in a potential distraction and increase your risk of crashing.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in the United States alone, distracted driving claimed 3,522, or 8.2 percent of total fatalities in 2021. This represents a 12-percent increase from 3,154 fatalities in 2020. Of the 684 or 1.6 of those fatalities were a result of drowsy drivers, a rising 8.2 percent from 2020.
Distracted driving can be prevented with these tips
Tips to Prevent Distracted Driving:
1. Put Your Phone Away:
One of the most common distractions is smartphone usage. To avoid temptation, place your phone out of reach or enable the "Do Not Disturb" mode while driving. If necessary, use a hands-free device for essential calls.
2. Plan Ahead:
Ensure you have completed all necessary tasks before getting behind the wheel. Adjust your seat, mirrors, and climate controls, and set up your GPS before starting your journey. This way, you can focus solely on driving.
3. Avoid Multitasking:
Driving requires your full attention. Avoid eating, drinking, or engaging in any other activities that take your hands off the wheel or divert your concentration.
4. Utilize Voice Commands:
Many modern vehicles come equipped with voice command systems. Take advantage of these features to make calls, change music, or adjust settings without taking your hands off the wheel.
5. Educate Passengers:
If you have passengers in the car, kindly request their cooperation in minimizing distractions. Encourage them to refrain from disruptive behavior, loud conversations, or excessive use of electronic devices.
6. Take Breaks:
Long drives can be mentally exhausting. Plan regular breaks to rest and refresh your mind. This will help prevent cognitive distractions and enhance your overall alertness.
Preventing distracted driving is everyone's responsibility. By understanding the various types of distractions, recognizing their risks, and implementing proactive measures, we can contribute to safer roads for ourselves and others. Remember, no text, call, or other distractions are worth risking lives. Let's prioritize safety and make a conscious effort to stay focused while driving.