Safe Driving: Mobile Phones and Other Distractions

In modern life, mobility and multi-tasking have become necessities of life. People are constantly on the move and utilizing every spare moment. For many people, one of the most time-consuming activities is the daily commute. Large chunks of the day are taken out solely for getting between places, and for people who own cars, they are the ones who are doing the driving. People use this time to get ready for work or school, grab a bite, listen to music, check GPS, and many other things. However, one of the most common distractors while driving a car is the use of mobile phones. The number of people using phones while driving has increased and unfortunately, so has the number of accidents caused by cell phone usage. 

Distracted driving is divided into three categories: Visual, manual, and cognitive. Visual distractions include anything that keeps the driver from looking at the road. This can include looking at a GPS or map, checking face in the mirror, watching a movie, or looking at a pet moving in the car. Manual distractions include anything that removes hands from the wheel, like eating or drinking, putting on make-up or brushing hair, or picking up something that has fallen on the floor. Cognitive distractions include anything that keeps the driver from staying focused on driving, such as a cd player or even sleep deprivation. Talking on cell phones acts as both a manual and cognitive distraction, although hands-free sets do away with the manual distraction problem. However, activities such as texting act as a visual, manual, and cognitive distraction, making texting one of the most dangerous distractions on the road. A texting driver is over twenty times more likely to get into a crash than a driver who does not text. This is why texting while driving is a serious offense in many states, and people are facing large fines for getting caught texting on the road. 

There are simple solutions for reducing these kinds of distractions. Activities like eating, grooming, using dvd/cd players, and reading maps or GPS should be done before driving, or should be done after the driver has come to a stop safely on the side of the road or in a parking lot. Pets should not be allowed to wander in the car freely as often they become distractors as well, so securing pets is also important, for both the driver and the pet. Drivers should never text and drive, and if there is a need to send an emergency text, drivers should pull off on the side of the road. Talking on cell phones should also be avoided, even with hands-free sets, and in an emergency, drivers should find a place to stop. Some people will talk on cell phones when they have to make long trips to prevent falling asleep at the wheel, but sleep deprivation is also a common cause of accidents. Sleep deprivation can be better solved by pulling off on the side of the road and taking a nap, as opposed to being victim to two cognitive distractors.

These kinds of tips can help prevent accidents for both the people distracted while driving and for other drivers. Every day, drivers are injured or killed in car accidents, and one of the most common causes of these accidents is distracted driving, especially while using mobile devices.

To learn more about distractions while driving, consult the following links: