Distracted driving is a serious and growing problem on our roads. Per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted drivers caused 3,522 deaths in 2021 alone.
To combat this distinctly modern problem, you have to identify and understand the most common distracted driving behaviors – and what to do instead.
Texting and smartphone use
Perhaps the most well-known and dangerous form of distracted driving is texting or using a smartphone while driving. Checking a text message, sending a tweet, or browsing social media while driving diverts your attention from the road. While it may only be seconds, that’s long enough to cause a wreck. In fact, drivers who text while they’re behind the wheel raise their odds of a crash by 23 times.
Put your phone on silent or use a do-not-disturb mode while driving. If you must make a call or send a text, pull over in a safe location.
Eating and drinking
Eating and drinking are common behaviors behind the wheel, but they both divert your attention away from the road. Juggling a sandwich or sipping coffee requires taking your hands off the wheel, making it harder to react to sudden changes in traffic.
Plan your meals before you hit the road. If you need to eat or drink and don’t want to get out of your car, eat in the parking lot.
Adjusting the radio or other devices
Fiddling with the radio, changing CDs, scrolling through a playlist and readjusting your GPS or fixing your mirrors can distract drivers momentarily. It may seem harmless, but these brief moments of distraction can easily result in collisions or near misses.
Set your radio or music before you start driving or use voice-activated controls if your vehicle has them.
Staying safe on the road is a collective responsibility, and by eliminating distracted driving behaviors, you can reduce the potential accidents and make our roads safer for everyone. If you are injured in a wreck with a distracted driver, it’s always wise to learn more about your options to recover your losses.