According to the National Safety Council (NSC), at least nine Americans die and 100 are injured every day in distracted driving crashes. Technology, such as cell phones, dashboard touchscreens, voice commands and other in-vehicle devices, that help make our commutes convenient can also be dangerous if it takes our attention away from the road.
Distracted Driving Awareness Month in April is a national effort to recognize the dangers of distracted driving in hopes of preventing deaths and injuries.
Here are some tips from the NSC to keep you and others safe while on the road:
Driving and cell phone conversations both require a great deal of thought. When doing them at the same time, your brain is unable to do either well. For example, it’s nearly impossible to read a book and have a phone conversation.
Driving and talking on the phone can lead to accidents due to delayed reactions to braking and a lack of awareness to traffic signals. (Even cell phones with Bluetooth capability slow down a driver’s cognitive skills since he or she cannot fully concentrate on operating a motorized vehicle).
Eating, talking to others in the car, or turning around to mind the kids in the back seat are other distractions that take away your focus from the road.
Texting can be just as dangerous
Texting while driving can increase your risk of being in an accident. Did you know that sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds? At 55 miles per hour, that’s equal to driving the length of a football field without paying attention to the situation in front of you.
Distracted driving via use of cell phones and texting has quickly become the number one cause of accidents among teens, now causing one in five motor vehicle crashes. Parents should remind their teen drivers to put the phone down until reaching their destination.
Prepare ahead of time
Instead of taking your eyes off the road to reach for things, adjust your car stereo, or access features on your GPS, take a few minutes before you start your commute to make sure you’re all set and can focus on driving. This includes adjusting car mirrors, seats, the stereo, air conditioning and GPS.
Change your driving mentality
Motorists, particularly younger ones, take on an attitude of invulnerability while driving. Remember that even the best drivers get into accidents. You should always drive defensively and be attentive so that you can react quickly to someone suddenly braking in front of you or a pedestrian darting across the street.
As a family, take the Drive Aloha pledge and commit to safe, distraction-free driving. To learn other traffic safety tips, go to our website at www.drivealoha.com.
Remember, taking your eyes off the road for only a second can change your life or someone else’s forever!