Put down the phone and pay attention; April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Every day, about eight people in the United States are killed in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver.
Distracted driving is driving while doing another activity that takes your attention away from driving. Distracted driving can increase the chance of a motor vehicle crash.
Anything that takes your attention away from driving can be a distraction. Sending a text message, talking on a cell phone, using a navigation system, and eating while driving are a few examples of distracted driving. Any of these distractions can endanger you, your passengers, and others on the road.
There are three main types of distraction:
- Visual: taking your eyes off the road
- Manual: taking your hands off the wheel
- Cognitive: taking your mind off driving
Among drivers involved in fatal crashes, drivers age 15-19 were more likely to be distracted than drivers of any other age.
What drivers can do:
- Do not multitask while driving. Whether it’s adjusting your mirrors, picking the music, eating a sandwich, making a phone call, or reading an email―do it before or after your trip, not during.
What passengers can do:
- Speak up if you are a passenger in a car with a distracted driver. Ask the driver to focus on driving.
- Reduce distractions for the driver by assisting with navigation or other tasks.
What parents can do:
- Talk to your teen or young adult about the rules and responsibilities involved in driving. Share stories and statistics related to teen/young adult drivers and distracted driving.
- Remind them that driving is a skill that requires the driver’s full attention.
- Emphasize that texts and phone calls can wait until arriving at a destination.
According to a phone company survey, almost 100% of teens agree that texting and driving is dangerous, but half admitted to doing it anyway. It may take only a matter of seconds to glance at your phone, but, if you are driving at 60 miles an hour, your eyes were blind to the road while you drove the length of a football field. Please don’t text and drive.