Distracted driving has been an increasing hazard in our society. According to the National Safety Council, at least nine lives are lost and 100 people are injured in distracted driving crashes in America every day.
Monongalia County Health Department wants to remind drivers to keep their eyes on the road and your hands on the steering wheel.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines distracted driving as “doing another activity that takes your attention away from driving.” This can include but is not limited to sending a text message, talking on the phone, setting up a navigation system and even eating while driving. Any task that requires visual, manual and cognitive distraction from focusing on the road is considered distracted driving.
Texting and driving is considered one of the most dangerous forms of distracted driving. This is because texting requires you to take your hands off the wheel, eyes off the road and distracts your mind more frequently than eating, talking and other forms of distracted driving would.
Some research has shown that texting and driving could provide the same amount of impairment as drunk driving would.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) compares sending or reading a text that takes five seconds while driving at a speed of 55 miles per hour to driving through an entire football field with your eyes closed.
The NHTSA reports that approximately 481,000 drivers are using cell phones while driving, and that’s only during daylight hours. This raises a tremendous amount of risks on the road not only for the distracted drivers but for other surrounding drivers and pedestrians.
April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. This month is dedicated to raising awareness of the dangers of and eliminate preventable deaths from distracted driving.
Here are some tips to do your part in saving lives and avoid taking part in distracted driving:
• Use your phone for emergency situations ONLY. While it’s highly urged to avoid cell phone use while driving, there may be cases where it’s necessary. Its recommended to pull over and avoid relying on hand-free devices. iPhones now even offer a “Do Not Disturb While Driving” mode. This will keep notifications from lighting up on your screen and will alert anyone who texts you that you’re driving. If you don’t have an iPhone, there are many apps these days that will offer the same service for any smartphone.
• Avoid driving when you’re tired. A driver is four times more likely to crash when driving drowsy. If you feel yourself getting tired while driving, pull your car off the road.
• Don’t multi-task: Multi-tasking is a great way to be time efficient. However, doing it while driving is not efficient at all. Driving already requires the mind and body to be multi-tasking and adding additional tasks such as texting, making a call or eating can be far too distracting and lead to a collision.
Life doesn’t have a reset button. Drive safe!