Distracted driving: Not worth the risk

distracted driver Did you know that in 2014, 3,179 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes caused by distracted drivers?* If that doesn’t alarm you, it should: That’s almost 10 percent of all car crash fatalities being caused by trivial actions like sending a text message or talking on the phone.** You probably already knew that using a phone behind the wheel is bad. After all, many states have laws to deter you from doing exactly that. But did you know there are other distractions that can put you and others in danger?

A distraction is any activity that takes your attention away from driving. Examples of distracted driving include:

  • Adjusting the radio
  • Combing your hair, shaving or putting on makeup
  • Eating and drinking
  • Looking up directions on a phone or a map
  • Using hands-free communication, including
    speech-to-text and speaker phones
  • Watching a video or surfing the internet

Are you guilty of any of the above? If so, it may be time to rethink your driving habits. How about your friends or family? As their passenger, you can put safety first by taking on navigation and DJ duties while they’re busy with the road. Nobody wants to become another statistic, so check out these safety tips below and help spread the word on distracted driving.

Before you hit the road

  • Get ready at home: Eat, shave, fix your hair, put on makeup, etc., before leaving the house.
  • Review your driving directions before traveling to a new place.
  • Prep your vehicle: Adjust your mirrors and seat, set up your playlist and fix temperature controls before you take off.
  • Turn off your phone or put it out of sight so you won’t be able to reach for it while driving.

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, meaning there’s no better time than now to make attentive driving a priority. To help with your effort, take the Distracted Driving Pledge on the National Safety Council’s website. When we all focus on driving, we make the roads safer for everybody.

* Source: Federal Communications Commission.
** Source: United States Department of Transportation.