Beyond Texting: What You Need to Know About Distracted Driving
There are over 210 million licensed drivers in the United States. Whether heading to work, school, or simply going out for social or recreational purposes, these drivers are engaging in an average of 382 billion person-trips annually. With all of these trips occurring on the road, distracted drivers create a serious threat – and it doesn’t always involve texting.
April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, so we’d like to take this opportunity to encourage all to drive with focus, putting safety first. In 2015 alone, 3,477 people were killed and 391,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers. These deaths and injuries are 100% preventable if the right steps are taken to eliminate distractions.
Here are some of the top distractions to be aware of on the road:
Cell phone usage:
More than 19 out of 20 surveyed adults believe that texting, emailing, or updating social media is an even more serious threat than talking on a cell phone while driving. Did you know North Dakota has a ban on text, emails, instant messenger, and the Internet while driving, even if you’re at a stoplight? You could get hit with a $100 fine if they see you doing any of these things.
While you think your conversation is important, crashes are 23 times more likely to happen when texting is involved. Think about how a crash could impact someone else’s life and wait to text until you’re outside your vehicle.
Reaching for a moving object in the car:
Whether you’re making a turn or have to stop suddenly, things move around when you drive. Make sure to secure purses, lunch boxes, or any items that may shift when your vehicle starts moving to reduce the risk of distraction.
If you need to read something before arriving at your destination, try leaving 5 minutes early. That way you can knock it out once you’ve safely parked your car.
Looking at something outside of the vehicle:
Driving requires us to pay attention to several things at once. While a scenic drive can be therapeutic, focus only on the things that affect your vehicle so you can keep your eyes on what matters.
Applying makeup on the go:
This can definitely wait until you arrive at your destination as the consequences far outweigh the benefits. Again, try leaving a little early and check this off once your vehicle is safely parked at your destination.
Will you join us and pledge to end distracted driving? If you want to know even more about what you can do to prevent crashes, get in touch with us or check out the National Safety Council or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for the rest of the month to learn how you can help.