You’re all guilty. Yup, including me. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve scolded myself for doing something while driving that has taken my attention away from the road. I’ve eaten while driving, texted, applied lipstick, dug through my purse, etc. I’ve also seen other adults do similar things- eat, text, change the music, mess with the GPS, reach down to get something, etc. And let me tell you something, this is NOT restricted by age. I’ve seen young people, middle-aged people and I’ve even seen elderly folks do distracting activities while driving.
So why do we do it? For me, personally, it’s because I know I can. Yes, that is arrogant and not the proper attitude at all. I participate in distracted driving activities because I am so confident nothing will happen to me if I change the music real quick or reach over to take a bite of something that I scoff at the fact that I could be seriously injured, or could seriously injure another driver(s). When I text and drive, it’s because I reduce it to “no big deal, I’m just sending a quick reply”. But I’m 100% wrong to think that, and so are you.
This distracted driving attitude is dangerous, and we all need to actively try to change it.
The truth of the matter is that we need to hush the arrogant voice that tries to justify our bad driving behavior. “I’m a good driver, I’ve been driving for years” or other BS excuses are not preventative, and don’t exempt you from causing damage or harm in the split second it takes to ignite an automobile accident. To further drill that into your head (and mine, as I’m writing this) here are some statistics:
about 660,000 drivers attempt to use their phones while driving per day
National Safety Council reports using a phone while driving causes about 1.6 million crashes each year
1 out of every 4 car accidents in the United States is caused by texting and driving
Texting while driving is 6x more likely to cause an accident than driving drunk (let that sink in…)
Replying to a text takes about 5 seconds, which when driving at 55mph, you drive the length of a football field using only quick, darting glances with only 1 hand on the wheel
Texting while driving causes a 400% increase in time spent with eyes off the road
Of all cell phone related tasks, texting is by far the most dangerous activity
94% of drivers support a ban on texting while driving
74% of drivers support a ban on hand-held cell phone use
CDC: 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.
Since April is “Distracted Driving Awareness Month”, it’s a great time to kill our crappy decision making when it comes to distracted driving. Here are some tips to help:
- Before the vehicle is in motion, send your texts that you’re about to drive to those you may be having text conversations with. Then, reply to them at your destination.
- Put your music on a playlist and leave it alone. Sorry but, no musician out there is “to die for”.
- Talk to your teens and loved ones. Teens are at a greater risk of being involved in a fatal car crash, and no one wants to experience that moment when the police knock on your door to deliver that devastating news.
- Put your phone out of reach if you don’t think you can control yourself.
- Eat before driving. Eating while driving isn’t illegal, but it is risky. If you absolutely have to do it, make sure it’s finger food that can be eaten with one hand and keep it close by.
The preventative measures here are literally endless but bottom line- don’t do distracting activities while driving. We’re not these immortal, immune Gods. It CAN happen to us, and it will if we continue this behavior.
Related Distracted Driving Safety Training
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