The Distracted Driving Epidemic – How Virginia Drivers Can Curb the Bad Habit

by admin on May 6, 2013

Virginia Distracted Driving
Over the last decade, the cell phone has joined the wallet and keys as an indispensable part of our everyday ensemble. Before they leave for work every morning, millions of Americans have their phones in hand. Technology has made it easier than ever to stay connected, and that’s good, but there is such a thing as “too connected.”

In the car, for instance.

With the rise of cell phones comes a rise in distracted driving accidents. The cell phone has become such a part of our everyday lives that we don’t even realize the danger it can create—both for ourselves and everyone around us.

Fortunately, people realized early on that distracted driving was becoming a national epidemic, and we now have studies and statistics to show us just how bad it’s gotten.

DISTRACTED DRIVING STATISTICS

In a recent study, the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found the following to be true:

• Texting while driving creates a crash risk 23 times worse than non-distracted      driving. OMG!
• Sending or receiving a text message takes the driver’s eyes off the road for an average  of 4.6 seconds, which (at 55 MPH) is the equivalent of driving the length of an entire football field—blind.
• Contrary to popular opinion, headset cell use is not substantially safer than hand-held use.
If you’re paying attention, these findings (particularly the football field one) should terrify you into never using your phone in the car again.

NOT JUST CELL PHONES

Even though cell phones and text messages are the most recent contributor, they aren’t the only culprit of distracted driving. In fact, people have been driving with distractions long before the advent of cell phones.

Technically, distracted driving is anything that takes your eyes, or your mind, off the road. “Mind” is the operative word here. Most drivers can successfully swap out a CD, maintain a conversation with their parents, and listen to their GPS all without taking their eyes off the road. That’s good, but it’s still distracted driving. If a task takes even a tiny percentage of your attention from the job of driving, you’re putting yourself, your passengers and everyone around you at risk.

From changing the radio station to fishing the last French fry crumb out of the container, distractions are all around you. Here are a few of the most frequent distractions. Some will be obvious, but some might surprise you:

  • • Talking on the phone
  • • Texting and driving
  • • Eating or drinking
  • • Talking to passengers
  • • Grooming or applying makeup while driving
  • • Using a navigation system
  • • Driving while half asleep
  • • Reading a book while driving
  • • Adjusting a CD/radio/MP3 player

Everything on that list shares one thing in common: None of them are essential to driving your car. They can all wait. And if they can’t, you can always pull over to make a phone call, wolf down your burger, or find that Smashing Pumpkins CD you bought 20 years ago (it’s probably stuck under the passenger’s seat next to the Dorito you dropped in 2004).

If you find yourself guilty of one (or more) of the distractions above, it’s time to take the steps to correct your habits. Enrolling in an online driver improvement course is a good place to start, so you can learn even more about the dangers of distracted driving, and the best ways you can eliminate distractions in your own car. Hopefully the awareness that these shocking statistics provide will ebb the flow of distracted driving fatalities, and accidents altogether.


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