According to the U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA),
Each day in the United States, over 8 people are killed and 1,161 injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver.
At Van Products, we are all too aware of the threat that distracted driving poses to the safety of not only the driver but also the passengers and other motorists on the road – especially when it comes to our handicapped vehicles.
3 Types of Distraction
Before talking about the dangers of driving distracted and how to avoid it, it’s worth mentioning that there are three main types of ‘distraction’ that distracted driving falls under. These include the following:
#1 – Visual: Taking your eyes off of the road
#2 – Manual: Taking your hands off of the wheel
#3 – Cognitive: Taking your mind off of driving
Tips to Avoid Distracted Driving
#1 – Turn the phone off.
Cell phones are the leading form of distraction while driving, and many states have banned the use of hand-held cell phones entirely.
If you know that your cell phone is a distraction, switch your phone off before starting your car up. You may also consider turning the phone to silent mode and/or storing it out of sight/reach.
You should only use your cell phone during emergency situations.
#2 – Get plenty of rest.
Another major hazard relates to sleep. Falling asleep at the wheel is more common than you’d think, and it can happen both at night as well as during the day.
Drivers who are overtired are not as alert and may make careless and sometimes dangerous or deadly mistakes in judgment. Lack of sleep affects your reaction time, and many law enforcement officials draw comparisons of sleep deprived drivers to drunk drivers.
If you find that you are tired while driving, get off of the road. If you’re traveling on a long road trip, stop frequently so that you can get out of the car and stretch. Try traveling with a buddy, or (if you have to), pull off into a safe area and take a nap.
#3 – Avoid eating while driving.
Did you know that spilling food is a major cause of distraction among drivers? Make time for breakfast or lunch from a stationary spot. If you absolutely have to eat in your car. Park your car and then eat.
Keep in mind that when you are eating while driving, your attention is diverted (as is your hand(s), making you less attentive to other drivers around you.
#4 – Avoid multi-tasking.
Contrary to popular belief, most people are NOT multi-taskers. Keep important items that you may need (ex: GPS, cash) within easy reach before you drive away. This will avoid you having to search for items while driving. Keep your vehicle organized, and it will save you a world of trouble later.
#5 – Avoid driving with too many passengers.
You can’t always avoid having more than one person in your vehicle. Where and when you can, avoid shuttling around more people than you can manage. Keep in mind that the more people you have in your car, the more distracting it will be.
Instead, avoid taking on multiple passengers at a time if you can help it. Instead, try embracing a little quiet time behind the wheel.