With technology developing rapidly and society steadily getting busier, Distracted Driving Awareness Month is a critical reminder to students to stay safe and focused on the road.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “Distracted driving is any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving.”
Distracted driving can range from a variety of actions, including eating or drinking, talking to a passenger, reading, talking on a cell phone, adjusting radios and applying makeup. The most detrimental distraction is texting.
Distracted driving tip No. 1: Don’t text and drive. A driver’s phone vibrates in his or her pocket. The driver is certain he has full control over his car, and after a brief moment of hesitation, or maybe none at all, he looks to see if it’s worth replying.
To some drivers, it doesn’t seem like much of a risk. A few seconds appear harmless.
In reality, it’s extremely dangerous. Imagine driving across a football field blindfolded. Sending or reading an average text takes 4.6 seconds and at 55 mph, that is an entire football field length with a driver’s eyes off the road. According to the NHTSA, drivers are 23 times more likely to crash if they are texting while driving.
Distracted driving tip No. 2: Don’t compromise form for speed. Almost everyone knows the feeling of desperation that stems from being late to an important meeting or event. What most everyone doesn’t know is the exact effects of hasty driving.
In a study by the National Safety Council, it was discovered that 33 percent of all fatal crashes come from speeding, and, on average, 13,000 lives are lost each year. The NHTSA found that crashes with speeding involved cost society more than $40 billion annually and more than $76,000 for every minute a driver gains by speeding.
Speeding may cost a life, or if the driver is lucky only 24 cents a gallon. Either way, speeding doesn’t pay off.
Distracted driving tip No. 3: Don’t compete for parking spots. A driver is surveying the area for a parking spot and notices one empty spot. In their rush to reach the spot first, they make a grave error: instead of parking, they had rammed into another car.
This situation happens frequently. In fact, one in five automobile accidents occur in parking lots according to the NHTSA.
To avoid making a similar mistake, drivers should always move at a slower pace in parking lots, signal, be alert, always yield to pedestrians and abide by all signs of the road. Most importantly, don’t fight over parking spots. Anger or competitiveness distracts cognitive thinking and thereby damages driving abilities.
Additional information on distracted driving can be accessed through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or through the National Safety Council.
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