Did you know that around nine people are killed every day as a result of distracted driving accidents? Unfortunately, distracted driving is a major part of American culture.
According to statistics from March 2019, 37% of people between the ages of 18 and 34 stated that they were pressured, or at least felt pressured, to respond to work-related texts and emails while driving. Perhaps not surprisingly, parents of young children are the most likely to report being distracted behind the wheel, at 87%.
Distracted driving is more than distractions caused by smartphones. There are three categories of distractions to which you could fall victim. These include:
- Visual distractions
- Manual distractions
- Cognitive distractions
Visual distractions take your eyes off of what you’re doing and make you look at things other than the road. Manual distractions physically take your hands off the steering wheel. Cognitive distractions take your mind off the activity of driving. If you are distracted in any of these ways, then you are driving distracted, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
It’s not just texts that cause problems
It isn’t just text messages that cause problems behind the wheel. Around one out of three females in a survey of 2,000 Americans admitted to taking pictures while driving. There are other distractions as well. Changing the radio station, using a GPS unit and responding to passengers can all be actions that take your mind off the road.
Man’s best friend can be a distraction, too
Drivers are often distracted by their dogs, according to the American Automobile Association. In fact, only 17% of people use a pet restraint, like a kennel or seat belt. Around 80% of those surveyed admitted to driving often with their pets.
Food is another no-no
Both food and drinks can take your mind off the road, your hands off the wheel and your eyes away from what’s ahead. Drivers are three times more likely to crash when drinking or eating behind the wheel.
By looking at these statistics alone, it’s easy to see that distractions cause many problems on the roads. People who are distracted have an increased risk of getting into crashes with others, which could result in serious injuries or deaths. That’s on top of other issues, like blocking traffic and putting a strain on the emergency system (police, firefighters and EMTs).
If you’ll be driving, put down your phone, your drink and your food. Use a carrier for your pets, and keep passengers calm and quiet. If there is something you must do that takes your mind off the road, pull over. It could save a life.