If it seems like people on the road just don’t pay attention to what’s going on around them anymore, you’re not imagining things — distracted driving is on the rise.
But let’s be honest — it’s not just the other guy. We’re an on-the-go society, and we all occasionally do things while driving that we know we shouldn’t. It’s not a matter of bad intent. We just don’t always consider the dangers.
Deadly Cell Phone Habits
You’d never dream of guzzling a six-pack and jumping behind the wheel with your kids in the back, but you may be doing something just as dangerous every single day.
A University of Utah study reveals a shocking fact—talking on your cell phone while driving reduces your reaction time as much as driving with a blood alcohol content of .08—the legal limit in most states.
This delayed reaction was observed even when drivers used hands-free headsets. Here’s why: Manual dexterity is only one key to being safe while driving. The other two components are keeping your eyes on the road and staying mentally focused. If any one of these elements is missing, your chances of getting in an accident increase.
Texting while driving distracts you from all three of these tasks, which makes it one of the most dangerous things you can do while driving. Nineteen states and many municipalities have established laws that make this practice illegal.
Its Not Just Cell Phones
Cell phone usage gets almost all the negative press, but it’s not the only problem. Today’s vehicles are full of devices that distract us from what should be our primary task—paying attention to the road.
Onboard guidance systems, TVs and DVD players, MP3 devices, and computers take our eyes away from the road, our hands from the steering wheel, and our minds away from the task of driving.
Eating or applying makeup while driving carries similar dangers. Combine two or more of these activities, and you’ve just turned yourself into a roadway menace.
Life is increasingly hectic and hurried, but you choose how you handle your daily challenges. Before turning that key, take a moment to fix your mind on what you’re doing. Commit to being safe and responsible on the road—it’s a matter of life and death
On average, today’s cars weigh just over 4,000 pounds. That’s two tons of glass and steel surrounding a highly combustible fuel tank, rolling at speeds up to 70 mph with nothing less than a few feet between you and the drivers around you.
Drivers have a shared responsibility to protect each other from harm. Here’s how you can do your part to keep you, your loved ones, and those around you safe while on the road:
Organize your day so that you’re not in the position of trying to complete work in your vehicle.
Don’t combine visual entertainment with driving. If you listen to music on your drive, ready your playlist before you leave. Only change out CDs when stopped at a traffic light or stop sign.
Never participate in a manual activity of any sort (texting, writing notes) while on the road.
If you pick up food on the go, wait until you arrive at your destination before eating.