“Most car accidents are cause by drivers not paying attention”
The quote above, by Eric Bolton, a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) spokesman could not be any truer. According to a 2006 study released by the NHTSA and Virginia Tech University, eighty percent of crashes and sixty five percent of near-crashes all involved some type of distraction within three seconds of the crash. These “distractions” include anything that causes your eyes to leave the road, your hands to leave the steering wheel, or your mind to leave focus on driving.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common distractions:
Mobile Phone Use
Driving while using cell phones or other wireless communication devices has been a problem for years. Because of the increase in popularity of cell phone use over the past decade, this problem continues to increase. When you’re driving to work in your busy morning commute, you will always be able to look around and see someone using their phone – talking, texting, or browsing the internet. It has become a pandemic.
When you pick up your phone while driving, you are putting the lives of everyone in your car, and on the road around you, in danger. People who use mobile phones while driving are much more likely to cause an accident than those who pay attention. You may think you are “good at texting while driving” or a skilled talker as you drive, but studies show that 97.5% of people cannot drive safely while using cell phones. So unless you are in that 2.5% of all people, you should refrain from cellphone use at all times on the road.
The term “road rage” refers to the act of becoming infuriated behind the wheel – typically at a fellow driver. This can cause one of more drivers to engage in verbal arguments, causing the drivers to take their eyes off the road. Road rage can also lead to aggressive driving, which can cause accidents. According to AAA, 56 of all traffic fatalities are the result of aggressive driving.
People do not understand how dangerous and possibly fatal road rage can be. Letting road rage upset you is a waste of time and energy. When you are faced with road rage, slow down, calm down, take a deep breath, and be on your way. Your life or the lives of your loved ones may depend on it.
Eating and Drinking
We are all in a hurry. Sometimes we don’t have time to stop and grab at bite to eat while we are leading our busy lives. As a result, we stop at drive-thrus, grab food on the go, and eat while we are driving. Not only is eating while driving messy, it’s also very dangerous. You will be eating with one hand, and driving with the other – not fully focused on the dangers of the road.
MSN.com has even released a list of their 10 ten worst foods to eat while driving. According to them, if you want to be safe behind the wheel, you should avoid consuming these 10 things:
- Hot Soup
- Fried Chicken
- Jelly Doughnuts
- Soft Drinks
Apart from mobile phone use, road rage, and eating, there are also many other driving distractions that you should be made aware of. RedEye Chicago took a poll asking people in Illinois what they believe is the most dangerous distraction while driving. Here are their answers:
1. Kids in car 26%
2. Putting on makeup 17%
3. Tuning radio 10%
4. Navigation system 10%
5. Weather-related distractions 8%
6. Passengers in vehicle 7%
7. Eating, drinking 7%
8. Texting while driving 4%
1. Road rage 18%
2. Eating, drinking 15%
3. Checking out other drivers 11%
4. Kids in car 10%
5. Passenger conversations 10%
6. Reading paper 9%
7. Texting while driving 8%
8. Tuning radio 7%