5 Causes of Driving Distractions
Distracted driving is defined as driving while engaged in another activity that diverts your attention away from the task at hand; it may also raise the risk of a motor vehicle accident. We must remember that when we think about the risks of distracted driving, the most catastrophic result is not always an accident but rather the possibility of causing a fatality or severe injury to yourself or another motorist. Despite the fact that this is a catastrophic consequence, road users often do not consider it a danger associated with their distracted driving habits since the likelihood of it occurring seems to be so low.
In addition to the risk of bodily injury, driver distraction may result in a variety of other negative outcomes, including significant and expensive property damage, an increase in insurance rates, and the chance of harming your company's image. Heavy trucks, which are often employed for commercial reasons, may have a much worse result than a normal vehicle accident because of the size and weight of the vehicle, as well as the length of time it takes for the vehicle to slow down or stop. In light of the potential for catastrophic consequences, it is vitally essential that we as a community work together to decrease driver distraction and commercial driver distraction in particular.
Distractions Come in Many Forms
Distractions may include anything that diverts your attention away from driving; it includes sending a text message, chatting on a mobile phone, using a navigation system, and eating while driving, to name a few instances of behaviors. Any of these distractions have the potential to put you, your passengers, and other drivers in danger.
Generally, we could put different distractions in three types, namely:
Visual: diverting your eyes away from the road
Manual: removing your hands from the steering wheel
Cognitive: taking your mind off driving
Five Causes of Driving Distractions
1) The use of a cellphone
Despite increasing public knowledge of the hazards of using a cellphone while driving, the practice continues. Many people think that using hands-free technology to speak on the phone while driving is completely safe, but on the other hand, it is as risky as having a text message while driving. Your conversation with the other people on the other end of the line could distract you and lead to an accident.
Whether you are texting or looking something up on the internet on your smartphone, a few seconds spent looking away from the road may be the last mistake you make. A vehicle traveling at 55 mph moves 80 feet per second. The average time it takes to read a text is almost five seconds. It is possible for your vehicle to go the length of a football field before you return your attention to the road.
2) Any moving things or animals inside the car
Something suddenly moving may be a distraction, whether it is a pet accompanying you on your journey, a bug flying through a window, or any item that shifts out of place. More to the point, our reflex response automatically urges us to grab for anything that has slipped off a seat – yet the harm caused by allowing that item to fall will almost certainly be much less severe than the dangers involved with failing to pay attention to the road. If your pet is causing you to get distracted, pull over and take steps to quiet the animal, which may include using a cage or shackles if required.
3) The manipulation of automobile components and controls
In order to properly use your vehicle's rearview and outside mirrors, roll up the windows, adjust your seat, or check the navigational system, it is often necessary to make these adjustments. Due to the fact that these activities distract attention, it is recommended that you pull over to perform them whenever feasible. Make sure you are acquainted enough with the vehicle's controls to be able to make changes while keeping your eyes on the road when this is not feasible.
4) Consumption of food or beverage
Using one hand to eat and drink makes driving impossible, and losing food or spilling a liquid may cause significant distractions. If you must have a beverage, make sure it is in a spill-proof container and that you do not handle it for an extended period. However, it would be best to take a break from the road when it is time to eat.
5) Having a conversation with another passenger
Whether we are carpooling to work or traveling with friends or family, we are going to engage in conversation with our fellow passengers on the road. A positive aspect of having another pair of eyes on the road is that it increases your safety, but this is countered when a discussion diverts your focus away from the road. Driving and riding with passengers should be avoided when road conditions are hazardous, traffic patterns change rapidly, or when the discussion distracts the driver from their driving duties.
Distracted Driving and How to Avoid It
What drivers can do to assist
It is not safe to multitask while driving. Things like adjusting your mirrors, selecting music, having lunch, making a phone call, or reading an email are all things that should be done before or after your journey, not while you are on the road. You may utilize applications to assist you in avoiding using your mobile phone while driving if you want to. Consider using an app to help you drive more safely despite being distracted.
What passengers are able to do
If you are a passenger in a vehicle with a distracted driver, speak out and let them know. Instruct the motorist to concentrate only on driving. By helping the driver with navigation or other duties, you may reduce driving distractions.
When driving, you should only use your mobile phone for emergencies and nothing else. Even in such a case, it is advisable to pull over to the right shoulder to make a phone call. Moreover, even while using a hands-free device, it is possible to overlook critical visual and auditory signals necessary to prevent a collision. It is also important to remember that it is against the law in an increasing number of countries. You may be issued a citation and fined.
Distracted driving is never justified by the fact that you are occupied. While finishing your breakfast on the way to work or school may seem to be a time-saving strategy, it also means that you are less alert to the vehicles surrounding you on the road. A significant source of distraction is food spillage. Also, everyone spends a significant amount of time in their cars, and it may seem to be the ideal time to do little tasks such as contacting friends, looking for excellent music, or even texting. Please do not do that. Keep your attention on the road and the other cars around you. Before you begin driving, make sure everything is in order.
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