Did you know that a driver makes 200 or more decisions for each mile traveled? This information was reported by OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. That is a lot of decisions to be made, and quick CORRECT responses require the driver to be paying attention at all times. Research shows that distracted driving is responsible for 80% of wrecks and 65% of near-wrecks. The most common distractions include:
• Talking on a cell phone
• Reaching for something inside the car while driving
• Makeup application
• Focusing attention on an outside object as you pass by
• Reading in the vehicle
Texting while driving is blamed for 1,600,000 car accidents a year. Perception is that adults are more likely to text while behind the wheel than teenagers, but regardless of who is texting and driving, this behavior is dangerous and potentially deadly. A study revealed that texting while driving a vehicle is more dangerous than driving drunk, SIX times more dangerous.
In an effort to cut down on distracted driving, some states require that you use a Bluetooth device or speakerphone. Hands-free devices help in the effort, but it cannot prevent cognitive distractions. A driver needs to be paying attention, visually and mentally, at all times.
There was a Facebook post that I read earlier today from a young driver who was involved in a terrible accident. It was a powerful read. He wasn’t talking on the phone or texting while driving, but he took his eyes off the road for literally a few seconds to glance down at his phone on the seat next to him because it lit up. He posted his story online to let others know that he never thought that would happen to him, but in seconds his life was changed forever. He posted a picture of his vehicle. From looking at the damage to his vehicle, it is a miracle that he lived to tell his story. Thankfully he lived, but his life will never be the same. He was distracted, for a matter of seconds, and was involved in a horrific crash that affected not only him but many others. That’s how fast it can happen.
Safe, attentive driving is necessary to keep yourself and your loved ones safe while on the road. Don’t take a chance when you’re behind the wheel. That phone call or text is never worth your life or someone else’s. Be well and drive safely.