One short text is all it takes to end a life. Every day, nine people die and more than 1,000 are injured across the U.S. in accidents caused by distracted drivers. And, because distracted driving is difficult to prove, experts believe these numbers may be even higher. As more motorists use cell phones, touchscreens and other technology in their cars, distracted driving has become a dangerous epidemic.
April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Here is some useful information and distracted driving examples to help you avoid distractions now and throughout the year.
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What is Distracted Driving?
There are three main kinds of distracted driving:
- Visual Distraction: taking your eyes off the road
- Manual Distraction: taking your hands off the wheel
- Cognitive Distraction: taking your mind off your driving
Whenever a driver does something that causes one or more of these things to happen, it’s considered distracted driving.
While using a cell phone is the most common when hearing of distracted driving examples, there are many others that can be just as dangerous.
Distracted Driving Examples
- Eating and drinking
- Talking to passengers
- Grooming, such as shaving or applying make-up
- Reading, including maps or directions
- Using a GPS or navigation system, even hands-free
- Watching videos
- Adjusting the radio station, CD or other audio device
- Listening to loud music
- Tending to children
- Talking or texting hands-free
- Driving with a pet on your lap
Some Surprising Facts about Distracted Driving
- New research shows hands-free talking or texting is just as dangerous as using a hand-held device.
- Talking on a cell phone narrows the field of vision, causing drivers to miss up to 50% of the view from their windshield.
- After an interruption, it takes 27 seconds for the average driver to return to their original task. On a busy road or highway, this can be disastrous.
How to Avoid Dangerous Distractions
Here are some safe driving tips from the Office of Highway Safety Planning:
- Use your cell phone’s driving mode to leave and accept messages while you are driving.
- Set your radio stations, climate control, GPS and other devices before you start driving. If you need to change something, pull off the side of the road or ask a passenger for help.
- Make sure the items you need are within reach. Don’t reach across the car or behind the seat to retrieve items while you’re driving.
- Avoid eating, drinking or smoking while you drive.
- Pull off the road if you need to attend to children or pets.
- Do your personal grooming before you leave home or after you arrive at your destination.
- If you have passengers, ask them to help with children or perform other potentially distracting tasks.
- To stay alert, schedule frequent stops on long trips. Have some coffee or a cold drink. Get out of the car and move around if possible.
- Avoid medications that may make you drowsy.
- If you get tired on a long trip, stop for the night and start fresh in the morning.
- Never get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol or using drugs.
Michigan traffic laws are complicated, but finding the right lawyer is simple.
Call 1-800-CALL-SAM today for a free no-obligation consultation.
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