In our ever-evolving world of technology, there come both benefits, and risks, with every development. Everything is getting smarter everyday, from our phones to our vehicles. And while this has helped create better solutions to vehicle safety, it’s also presented us with additional challenges.
Distracted driving is not a new concept. In fact, the number of distracted driving accidents actually dropped by more than 8.2% from 2010 to 2011, and again by 8.5% from 2014 to 2015. But, it’s still a significant problem that can cause tragic accidents that otherwise could have been prevented.
So, what constitutes distracted driving? Well, as the name implies, it is anything that takes your attention away from operating your vehicle. Nowadays, most distractions come from cell phone use, but other common accident-inducing distractions include using a navigation system or eating while driving.
In short, any action that causes you to either take your eyes off of the road, your hands off of the wheel or your mind off of your driving can prove to be hazardous to you and your passengers, not to mention other drivers on the road.
How To Prevent Distracted Driving
As a driver, the best thing you can do to prevent an accident is to make your driving the primary focus every time you get behind the wheel. That means getting situated first. Before you take off, make sure your phone is connected if your vehicle has the capability. Your hands will be busy enough managing the road, so remove that element first.
And if you don’t have hands-free capability, please, put the phone down and leave it! There are apps and settings you can use to curtail phone use while driving, including automatic reply messages and phone disabling features while your vehicle is in operation.
As a passenger, just let common sense prevail. And be proactive. After all, you are putting your own life in someone else’s hands when you get into a vehicle. Do your part to ensure those hands stay on the wheel!
And most importantly, as a parent of a driver, talk to your kids about the dangers of distracted driving. Whether they are the driver or a passenger, the better they understand the risks and unfortunate results that can occur, the more likely they are to be better practitioners of safe driving. (This includes the penalties they can incur from getting caught driving distracted, whether that be from you, as a parent, or law enforcement. In some states, using your phone at all is illegal!)
As we all know, accidents can, and will, happen. The best thing we can do as drivers, passengers and parents is to make sure we do everything in our power to prevent them.