Inattention is a factor in up to 25% of all vehicle crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Distracted driving remains one of the most serious concerns on our roadways today.
April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, making it the ideal time to remind your drivers of the dangers of distracted driving as well as tips on how to avoid it.
Research shows that distracted drivers are two times to 48 times more likely to get into a collision. For example, texting, emailing or surfing the internet while behind the wheel increases the driver's chances of getting into an accident by 23 times. Moreover, cell phone use is reported in over 18% of distracted driving fatalities.
Remind your drivers of this fact: Five seconds is the average time a person looks down at a cell phone to text or email — the equivalent of driving the length of an entire football field at 55 mph with one's eyes closed.
To avoid distracted driving, experts offer the following four tips.
Familiarize Yourself with Vehicle Systems
Take the time to understand everything about your vehicle's systems before you start the engine so you are not struggling to figure out how to work something once the vehicle is in motion.
Adjust Mirrors and Comfort Features
Whether it's the air conditioning, heated seats or a music play list, set it up before you hit the road.
Understand the Types of Distractions
The three kinds of distractions include:
- Visual distractions: These are the distractions that make you take your eyes off the road such as inputting an address in the GPS, placing a call, or reading a text.
- Cognitive distractions: This refers to anything that removes your mind from the task of driving, such as answering an incoming call, frustration with traffic or other drivers, or even daydreaming.
- Manual distractions: This can be anything that requires you to take your hands off the wheel such as picking up something you drop, eating, grooming, or plugging in a power adapter.
Avoid External Distractions
Rubbernecking as you approach an accident, window-shopping as you pass a mall, looking at scenery, or searching for an address are all forms of distracted driving. To stay safe, make sure to avoid all of these behaviors while operating your vehicle.