In 2009, 5,474 people were killed in crashes involving driver distraction, and an estimated 448,000 were injured. 16% of fatal crashes in 2009 involved reports of distracted driving. 20% of crashes resulting in injury in 2009, involved reports of distracted driving. In the month of June 2011, more than 196 billion text messages were sent or received in the US and nearly 50% from June 2009. Teen drivers are more likely than other age groups to be involved in a fatal crash where distraction is reported. In 2009, 16% of teen drivers involved in a fatal crash were reported to have been distracted.
While the above statistic is alarming, it is unfortunately true. Distracted driving is extremely dangerous. It is important to be aware of how distracted driving habits can lead to accidents so you can avoid them. Listed below are some of the most dangerous distracted driving habits:
- Texting: When a person texts while driving, he/she is 23 times more likely to get in an accident. Texting while driving not only reduces situational awareness of the road ahead and surrounding traffic, but it also forces the driver to take their hands off the wheel and eyes off the road. Sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, which is equivalent to driving the length of an entire football field blindfolded.
- Browsing the Internet. With the development of smartphones, tablets, and in-car Internet access, browsing the internet while driving has been made very easy and accessible. However, it has also become a tempting factor for drivers to be distracted.
- Fiddling With Entertainment Gadgets and Using a Navigation System. While using entertainment gadgets such as a radio, CD player, iPod or MP3 player, or using a navigation system, the attention of the driver is diverted, hence, increasing the risk of accidents.
- Talking on the Phone. Regardless of whether it is a hand-held or hands-free device, talking on the phone delays a driver’s reactions as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent.
- Grooming. Some people might think that they can multi-task, however, any single second that you take your eyes away from the road is dangerous. Applying make-up and other grooming activity takes not just your eyes but your hands and attention off the road and wheel.
- Trying to reach for a Dropped Item. Whether something you need has dropped on the floor or between the seats, reaching to get your cell phone, keys, paper, or a toy for your child is a major distraction to driving.
- Taking care of Children. Children do take up a great deal of attention, even when you are driving with them. When your children are acting up in the car, you naturally tend to look back to see what is going on. However, if you’re looking at your kids, you’re not watching the road, which enables accidents to occur.
- Eating and drinking. No matter how hungry or thirsty you are, you don’t want to compromise your safety for a bite or drink. Eating and drinking is a distraction that affects the driver’s visual, manual and cognitive attention.
- Driving While Drowsy: Nearly 41 percent of drivers say they’ve fallen asleep behind the wheel at some point or another. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the NHTSA estimates that drowsy driving in the United States causes 100,000 crashes a year, resulting in 40,000 injuries and 1,550 deaths.
Distracted driving is extremely dangerous.The habits mentioned above are worth getting rid of to save lives. Nothing is more important than your safety and the safety of others on the road.
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