Distracted Driving: A Deadly Epidemic
Every year, people are involved in very serious accidents in passenger vehicles, buses, and commercial trucks due to distracted driving. Distracted driving has become an epidemic all over the United States as more people fall victim to its deadly grasp. Many of the people who are involved in these accidents were either talking on a cell phone, changing the radio station, or speaking to someone else in the vehicle and not paying attention to the road.
In 2013, a man lost his life when he veered his vehicle off the road, crossed into the oncoming lanes, and slammed into a tree. The police found that he had been texting while he was driving. In another case a year before that, a 21-year-old man was driving his van at 60 miles per hour when he plowed into an Amish buggy due to texting. Three children were killed and their mother was seriously injured. Unfortunately, many years ago, many of the defendants in these cases would be let off without being charged with a crime. These days, that is usually not the case. To this day, some 41 states prohibit texting while driving – however, bans do not stop everything.
Car and Driver Magazine actually took the time to conduct a field study showing the exact risks of distracted driving in numbers. An editor for the magazine rigged up a car with a red light that would instruct a test driver going 70 miles per hour when to hit the brakes. The control group contained sober drivers, and the two test categories included drivers who were just over the legal limit for alcohol, and were reading emails or texting. Here were the results:
- Unimpaired: 0.54 seconds to brake
- Legally drunk: add 4 feet
- Reading e-mail: add 36 feet
- Sending a text: add 70 feet
Many of these distractions have an extreme level of risk that should enlighten but also scare drivers as they realize the dangers of distracted driving. By making more drivers aware of the dangers, the chance of fatality would decrease substantially.
Preventing Distracted Driving
Many distractions are avoidable; however, some will prove to be impossible to prevent. Because driving requires your full attention and there are some things that drivers must keep in mind, we are here today to help you understand some useful driving tips.
- Focus on driving and do not let anything else steal away your attention. Always actively scan the roads for pedestrians and cyclists, too.
- Always finish dressing and personal grooming at home, before you hit the road.
- Eat snacks or meals before or after your trip, not while you are driving. Avoid messy foods that can be difficult to manage while you are focusing on the roads.
- If your child needs care along the way, pull off the road safely to care for them.
- Put aside all electronic distractions. Do not use cell phones unless there is a life-threatening emergency.
If there is something distracting you from keeping your full attention on the road, then you should always pull over to take care of it. Remember these steps and keep yourself safe while you are driving.