What is Distracted Driving? Distracted driving is any non-driving activity a person engages in that has the potential to distract him or her from the primary task of driving and increase the risk of crashing. While all distractions are dangerous and pose as a hazard to the driver’s safety, texting is the most harmful because it involves all three major types of distraction:
- Visual – taking your eyes off the road
- Manual – taking your hands off the wheel
- Cognitive – taking your mind off what you are doing
What Are Some Tips on How I Can Drive Defensively?
- Keep your head up
- When you aim high you can still see low, but when you are looking low, you can’t see high. Look 14 seconds down the road. Drivers that have low-aim steering are fixated on what is directly in front of them leading to habits like last-second lane changes, excessive braking and tailgating.
- Conduct mirror checks every 5-8 seconds
- This will allow you to get a complete circle of awareness around your vehicle.
- Use the four second rule to establish proper following distance
- Identify a fixed object in the road. When the vehicle in front of you passes the object count 1, 2, 3, 4 and stop when your vehicle passes that same object. You should be at least 4 seconds behind the vehicle in front of you. For every additional second you have to react to an incident in front of you, your chances of having an accident are cut in half.
- Move eyes every two seconds avoiding long stares
- There are two types of vision; central cone which accounts for 3 degrees of your vision and peripheral which is your ability to see 180 degrees. Central cone picks up detail while peripheral vision is your sensitivity to light, motion and color.
- When you stare at a traffic light you are not focused on hazardous situations around you. Avoid staring at traffic lights while you sit at a red light. This way you are always alert as to what is going on in the intersection.
- Maintain space in front of you, on sides of you, and behind your vehicle
- Always maintain a safe distance between the car in front of you, the car in back of you and the car beside you. With traffic having a tendency to move in clusters or packs, it is important to occupy the space in between the packs.
- Dedicate your full attention to driving
- Make eye contact or use other devices like your horn, headlights, turn signals, hazards, and brake lights when in busy areas to alert other drivers and even pedestrians.
- Refrain from using your cell phone while driving
- Texting and driving is the most alarming and endangering distraction not only to the driver texting but also to those drivers around them.
- Reduce speed according to road conditions and weather
According to a car-study for the National Highway Traffic Safety Association by Virginia Tech, 80% of all crashes and 65% of near crashes involve some type of distraction. The NHTSA stated that in 2008 distracted driving-related crashes accounted for 5,870 fatalities. In that same year there were 1,500,000 injuries that were a result of distracted driving. Please visit http://lawampm.com/community-relations/commit-to-quit to find out more information on the affects of distracted driving and our Commit to Quit program. If you or a loved one has been involved in a motor vehicle accident involving a distracted driver, please contact us for a free appraisal.