Distracted driving is the bane of motorists and pedestrians everywhere. It’s dangerous and sometimes illegal, but it’s also extremely easy to do. Even if you’re not taking part in the most frequently-cautioned distracted driving techniques, there’s still a chance that you’re engaging in distracted driving behaviours. You may not notice it, but it only takes one mistake to cause an accident.
Is distracted driving really that bad?
Lots of people believe that they can handle multitasking while driving. In fact, up to one in six people on British roads are engaged in distracting behaviours at any given time. That doesn’t mean, however, that it’s safe to do so.
A large number of accidents, both in the UK and around the world, are caused by some form of distracted driving. Whether it’s talking, texting, eating, or just not paying attention, distracted driving causes injuries and even deaths every day.
The numbers don’t lie — over a quarter of motorists may have had a near-collision because of distracted behaviours, and one in ten have had some form of collision. No matter what you measure, it’s clear that distracted driving is an obstacle that must be overcome in order to keep roads safe.
What can cause distracted driving?
High-volume or extremely energetic music can easily become a large problem for drivers. When listening to this kind of music, it’s easy to get caught up in the music and stop paying as much attention to the road.
Other people in the car can also lead to distractions. Are you driving your kids around, or going to a work event with a co-worker? Conversations could be taking a toll on your driving abilities. Even if you’re not emotionally involved in the conversation, you still have to put brain power toward it. That means you don’t have as much brain power focused on the road.
As almost anyone should know, using your mobile phone while driving is another big problem. However, despite the fact that many places in Britain and around the world have laws against it, people still use their mobile devices while driving every day.
Playing a game, texting about when you’ll be home, and all other phone behaviours are the same. At the end of the day, they make you more distracted, and you need to be focused to drive safely.
What can drivers do around the holidays to reduce distracted driving?
Although it can seem scary to see the road safety statistics and learn what may be distracting you, the good news is that you can prevent it. Most distracted driving behaviours can be changed just by being aware.
If you find yourself often distracted by catchy music, consider turning it down, or turning it off altogether. Even though listening to music while driving helps to stay alert, especially on longer rides, you may decide to just avoid music in your car. Save high-energy music for home or work, and celebrate with your friends and family instead of while you’re driving.
Car conversations with the driver should always be kept to a minimum. If you really need to have a conversation, whether it’s about hobbies, some work details, or your favourite book, take a few extra minutes and park the car first. Like with all other distracting car behaviours, it might be a little bit more of an effort, but it’s worth it if you can avoid hurting yourself or others.
Lastly, make sure you’re not taking out your phone when you drive. Some people may use their phone to navigate, and will set the map up when they first get in. But you shouldn’t be fiddling with your phone while you’re on the road.
Distracted driving can be stopped during any season
Although it’s certainly sobering to see the dangerous effects of distracted driving, that doesn’t mean it’s a lost cause. Distracted driving starts with being aware of every action you take while you’re behind the wheel. This holiday season, don’t rush. Take the steps necessary to prevent distracted driving in your own vehicle.