Sometimes making changes to improve your health can be challenging. Giving up your favorite junk food and running a mile every day is difficult. However, sometimes making positive, healthy changes is simple. Distracted driving is a growing health risk. Refraining from distracted driving is a simple way to help keep yourself and those around you safe.
What is distracted driving?
Any time you take your attention away from the road while you’re driving behind the wheel counts as distracted driving. Distracted driving increases your risk for causing, or being involved in, an accident.
Checking a text, reaching for a french fry that fell onto the floorboard, staring at a car that’s been pulled over, queuing up a driving playlist, and even talking to your passengers can count as distracted driving.
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recognizes three types of distraction while driving. Visual distraction is taking your eyes off the road.
- Manual distraction is taking your hands off the wheel.
- Cognitive distraction is taking your mind off driving.
Sometimes distracted driving combines all three.
Why is it dangerous?
In 2015, 3,477 people were killed and 391,000 were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver.
Drivers under the age of 20 are most likely to be in a distraction-related fatal crash.
42 percent of high school students reported sending a text or email while driving.
Technology enables us to be connected at all times. It can be tempting to check the score of the big game, or read that work email, or send a quick text to a friend. It’s just not worth the risk, however.
Texting can take your attention, your hands, and your vision away from the road. As the CDC puts it, sending or reading a text message takes 5 seconds, and taking your eyes off the road for this long while driving 55 miles an hour is like driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed.
Unexpected things can happen while driving, and you sometimes have to make split-second decisions to avoid an accident. This can be difficult even when you aren’t distracted.
Talk to your children about distracted driving, and set a good example by focusing your attention on the road at all times. That text, score, or french fry can wait until you’re safely parked.