Distracted driving is a growing problem. These distractions can come in many forms: cellphones, the radio, food, or passengers. But anything that takes a driver’s attention away from the road can cause disastrous consequences. Every year, there are over 90,000 car crashes that involve a distracted driver. This display seeks to curtail this terrible habit by demonstrating just how dangerous distracted driving is.
There are three types of distraction: manual, visual, and cognitive. Manual distractions involve taking your hands off the steering wheel. Visual distractions involve taking your eyes off the road. And cognitive distractions take your mind off of driving. Texting encompasses all three types of distraction, making it particularly dangerous while driving.
There are 1,200 injuries and 15 deaths each day due to distracted drivers. If cases of distracted driving continue at the present rate, by 2030, it will be the 4th leading cause of death in the U.S.
Texting takes a driver’s eyes off the road for almost 5 seconds. At 55 mph, this is equivalent to driving the length of a football field while blindfolded. Considering that texting drivers take their eyes off the road up 400% more often and for longer periods of time, there are too many drivers out there paying too little attention to what they’re doing. While texting and driving isn’t limited to just young people, 55% of drivers under the age of 25 believe that it’s easy to text and drive (even though texting and driving makes an individual 23 times more likely to get into an accident).
The grim statistics don’t end there. 40% of teens admit to having texted while driving and 20% of drivers have admitted to surfing the web while driving. It’s estimated that at this very moment, 10% of drivers are on their cellphones. Studies show that using a cellphone while driving reduces brain activity by 37%, which would seem to explain why drivers are 4 times more likely to get into a serious crash when using a handheld device.
However, there are many actions that drivers can take to prevent becoming distracted while driving. Phones should be turned off and placed out of sight. Necessary phone calls can be made after pulling over. Drivers can even create an auto-respond text message to let people know that they’re driving. They can also delegate calling and texting responsibilities to passengers. Drivers should not smoke, drink, eat, or read while they are driving. Creating a good playlist or finding an enjoyable radio station can ensure that music does not become a distraction.
While behind the wheel, the only thing a driver should do is drive!