Most people wouldn’t dream of getting behind the wheel drunk or allowing a loved one to do so. However, most people are guilty of a specific driving behavior that may be just as dangerous as driving over the legal limit: distracted driving.
In 2018, the most extensive distracted driving study in human history revealed that driving while distracted is 100 times more prevalent than the official estimates from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for that year. When compared with driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08%, distracted drivers:
- Crash more frequently
- Hit the brakes 9% later
- Struggle 24% more to maintain a safe following distance
- Return to average speed 19% slower
The data shows that distracted driving today is more dangerous and far more common than driving drunk. To keep yourself and others safe on the road, here are a few tips to prevent yourself from driving distracted.
Set your technology aside
You should never use your phone or other devices while driving – even if they are hands-free. Hands-free devices still divert some of your attention away from essential cues on the road. If you plan to play music or use your GPS, set these up while you are still parked. Most phones also have “Do Not Disturb” settings you can utilize to avoid the temptation to check your cell on the road.
Don’t eat and drink while driving
In our busy day-to-day lives, it can seem convenient to multitask while driving to save yourself time. While it may be easier to eat your breakfast on your way to work rather than set aside time to do so, these actions will make you less attentive to driving. Food and drink spills are a significant source of distractions on the road.
Secure passengers and objects before leaving
Whether you are driving with children, pets or possessions, make sure they are secure in their seat before hitting the road. Reaching in the back seat could cause you to lose control of your car while driving, and loose objects may tempt you to reach for them when you should be focusing on driving.
Taking your eyes off the road for a moment may seem harmless, but it’s far deadlier and more common than driving under the influence. Driving requires your full attention, so be sure to keep your focus on the road to keep yourself and others safe.