Distracted driving is extremely dangerous and can cause personal injury and property damage. Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves. (1) Even with a hands-free device, multi-tasking while driving could have serious consequences.
You’ve seen it before: a vehicle near you is weaving in the traffic lane or traveling well below the speed limit. Chances are that driver is not focused on the road.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (2), there are three main types of distractions:
• Visual — taking your eyes off the road
• Manual — taking your hands off the wheel
• Cognitive — taking your mind off what you are doing
Distracted driving isn’t just about phone calls or text messages. Many activities that take your attention away from traffic can lead to accidents. Examples of distracted driving include:
• Adjusting a navigation system
• Retrieving a dropped item
• Talking on the phone
• Watching a video
Nearly half the U.S. states have restrictions against activities that cause distractions. Some states ban phone use in construction zones and school zones. Others place restrictions on novice drivers and operators of commercial vehicles, such as large trucks and school buses. Take the time to research the laws in your state and visit www.distraction.gov.
So, the next time you reach for the phone while driving, answer this question: Is this call important enough to risk hurting someone or can it wait?