Distracted driving is a serious problem. Using a cell phone while behind the wheel results in about 1.6 million crashes each year. While texting and driving is one of the biggest culprits of distracted drivers, it’s not the only issue.
Everything from self-driving cars to drug use to the number of other cars on the road all play a part in how prevalent distracted driving is. Even if you drive perfectly, you never know what others on the road are dealing with. Some might be texting, doing their makeup, or even drinking. All of these factors increase your risk of getting into an accident every time you get behind the wheel.
Thankfully, there are some things you can do to stop distracted driving in its tracks. While you may not be able to control what everyone else on the road does, you can take preventive measures into your own hands when it comes to yourself and your family’s safety.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Distracted Driving?
The first thing that comes to your mind when you think about distracted driving is probably texting or looking at your phone. There’s a reason for that, as it’s arguably the biggest offender when it comes to being distracted on the road. We’ll touch on that later in this article.
But, it’s important to know that texting and driving isn’t the only problem. Think about everything you do in your car on your morning commute, on your way home from work, or while you’re picking up your kids from school. There are so many little things that lead to distracted driving that you may not even think about, including:
- Eating in the car.
- Putting on makeup.
- Talking to others in the vehicle.
When you’re distracted, it’s easy to run red lights or stop signs, not pay attention to other cars on the road, or rear-end someone. Unfortunately, many of the accidents caused by distracted driving can be fatal.
Distraction comes in many forms, though. Even if you pay attention while you’re behind the wheel, if you’re under the influence of something, you can’t devote your full focus to driving. Most people know not to drink and drive, but things like cannabis can also be a danger — even if it’s legal. It’s important to know how things like these affect you before you get on the road.
Even something like a self-driving car can become more of a distraction than it’s supposed to be. Self-driving cars aren’t perfect, and they still require you to pay attention to the road. If you’re in a self-driving car and it violates a traffic law, you’ll be the one responsible as the owner. If you get into an accident in a self-driving car, you’re going to be found at fault — not the car itself.
The Trouble With Texting
As stated above, texting is a big problem when it comes to accidents on the road. Even turning your eyes away from what you’re doing for a second can have fatal results. But it’s tempting whenever you hear that familiar “ding” on your phone to reach for it and see who’s trying to get ahold of you.
So, what can you do to keep yourself focused on the road? Additionally, how can you make sure your family stays safe, too?
One of the best things you can do to avoid texting or using your phone while driving is to have it out of sight. If it’s not directly within your reach, you’ll be less tempted to look at it every few minutes. Try keeping it on silent while you’re driving, too, so you won’t be distracted and tempted by any notifications.
There are also apps you can download directly onto your phone that are designed to block texting while you’re driving. Programs like CellControl can help parents to block their teenagers from sending or receiving texts while driving. Live2Txt also allows you to block any incoming calls or texts while you’re on the road. It’s a little extra step that can go a long way to keep you safe.
Teaching your teenage drivers to be safe behind the wheel should be a top priority for parents. But it’s equally important for you to live by your own rules. Set an example for the other drivers in your family by putting your phone away when you’re on the road. Any incoming notification can wait until you’ve come to a stop.
Staying Safe Behind the Wheel
Staying vigilant behind the wheel is crucial. Not only does it help you, your family, and people you care about, but it also helps other drivers on the road and the first responders who have to come to accidents to provide medical care. Distracted driving can also put people working on the roads in danger, including construction workers, who, in 2015, experienced almost 200,000 work-related injuries.
Car accident statistics are scary. The fact that so many of them stem from distracted driving is even scarier, especially when you realize that you’re likely on the road at any given time with some other driver who could be distracted.
While you might not be able to completely eliminate the risks of getting into a car accident or the dangers that surround you on the road, there are things you can do to stop distracted driving and keep your complete focus on what you’re doing. When you’re able to do that, you’ll be more alert and will have a better chance of avoiding a serious accident.
Author information: Magnolia Potter is a muggle from the Pacific Northwest who writes from time to time and covers a variety of topics. When Magnolia’s not writing, you can find her curled up with a good book.