Distracted Driving Dangers
For every five seconds a person’s eyes are off the road, they have equivalently driven the length of a football field at 55 miles per hour without looking. In these five seconds, fatal accidents can occur. In fact, 9 people are killed daily in America due to distracted driving accidents.
Distracted driving includes any physical action that takes your hands from the wheel or your eyes from the road, as well as mental or emotional distractions. The tips in this fact sheet can help you reduce your chance of being involved in a distraction-related accident.
Cell phones are the most common distraction for drivers. Several states have banned cell phone usage by drivers and some are regulating text messaging while driving. Below are some frightening statistics on what can happen when you use your cell phone while operating a vehicle:
- Using a cell phone quadruples your risk of being involved in an accident;
- Two-thirds of drivers between the ages of 18 and 34, and 53 percent of drivers between the ages of 45 and 54, have reported using a cell phone while driving;
- 95 percent of drivers believe texting is unacceptable when driving, but 18 percent of those polled also had read or sent a text in the last month while driving; and
- 3,179 people were killed in 2014 due to distracted-driving accidents.
Avoid the dangers of operating a cell phone while driving by pulling over at a rest stop or the side of the road, or waiting until you have reached your destination to make a call or send a text.
Eating and Grooming
In today’s fast-paced world, people are trying to multitask even more than before, including eating and grooming while driving. The following are driver-related statistics on eating or grooming:
- Women are more likely than men to be distracted by grooming while driving;
- An ExxonMobil Corporation study indicated that more than 70 percent of drivers eat while they are driving, and 83 percent drink beverages while driving; and
- Drivers are three times more likely to crash while applying makeup and 1.6 times more likely to crash while eating.
It is recommended that all drivers abstain from eating while driving.
Six percent of drivers have admitted to reading a newspaper, book or magazine while driving. Drivers consider this type of driving distraction to be the most distracting behavior. Millions of trips occur daily where the driver, at some point, looks at a map or some form of printed directions while at the wheel. While it is important to know where you are going, you should pull over to read directions rather than reading while you are driving.
The American Automotive Association found that 21% of fatal accidents are due to drowsy drivers. Tips on how to avoid an accident that is caused by drowsiness include:
- Always pull over when drowsy and take a rest or nap.
- If you need more energy before heading back on the road, get something to perk you up, such as caffeine.
Drive Unrestricted from Distractions
Practicing safe, non-distracted driving significantly reduces your chances of being in a crash or near-crash on the road. Driving already requires a person to multi-task, needing the mind and body to work together to operate the vehicle, and adding on other tasks will only greatly increase your chance of being involved in a dangerous situation.
© 2018 The GuideOne Center for Risk Management, LLC. All rights reserved.This material is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to give specific legal or risk management advice, nor are any suggested checklists or action plans intended to include or address all possible risk management exposures or solutions. You are encouraged to retain your own expert consultants and legal advisors in order to develop a risk management plan specific to your own activities.