Have you ever had an important phone call or text message come through while you were behind the wheel? It’s a common situation that often result in dangerous distracted driving. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 8 people are killed and 1,161 are injured in crashes involving distracted drivers each day.
Stay informed and discourage distractions in the car.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration classifies driving distractions in 3 ways:
- Visual (eyes off the road)
- Manual (hands off the wheel)
- Cognitive (mind off the act of driving)
This means that any multitasking behind the wheel is considered distracted driving. To stay safe, set some guidelines for yourself and other drivers in your family:
- Eat before you start driving. If you must snack, choose quick foods that aren’t messy.
- Never apply makeup, finish dressing or attempt grooming while driving.
- Avoid electronic distractions by mapping routes before you begin driving and disabling text and email push notifications on your phone.
- Use Bluetooth or other hands-free devices in an emergency.
- If you need to address a distraction, wait until you can pull over to a safe spot.
Distracted Driving Laws
Many states now have laws and regulations surrounding common driving distractions. As of September 2016, 14 states, the District of Columbia and three U.S. territories have banned the use of handheld cell-phones by those who are behind the wheel, and 46 states as well as the District of Columbia have outlawed text messaging while driving.