Deadly Distractions on the Road – Top 5

We are in an age of ever-expanding technology. We seemingly have more things we can do digitally than we can do in real life! Phone calls, texting, watching videos, updating Facebook… to name a few. While these things are great at home, they should be off-limits when you are driving. In our wealth of things to do digitally, more people take this luxury to the road.

According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHHTSA) 5,474 people were killed in crashes involving driver distraction in 2009, and an estimated 448,000 were injured. Here are some of the worst distractions you can participate in while driving. It’s like the seven deadly sins – The five deadly driving habits.

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by Lord Jim

#1. Texting

You’ve seen them, they get within inches of bumpers at stop lights, they sit there not knowing the light turned green… they are completely oblivious to everything around them except their little phone. As bad as this may sound I too have succumbed to reading an occasional text while I drive. as they are driving like they want to play chicken with every car they encounter. Yet I find myself feeling animosity towards people that I see texting while driving.

People that text are 23 times more likely to get into a crash and Virginia Tech Transportation Institutes reports that sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. That is the equivalent of driving 55 mph through an entire football field, blinded.

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by Jim Legans, Jr

#2 Doing ANYTHING with your Phone (especially smart phone)

The Iphone 4S and the Droid Razr… rivals by manufacturer but they have two things in common: They are both the hottest gadgets people are after and they are both extremely distracting. With the ability to effectively surf the web as fast (if not faster) as you could at home through cable, people are now starting to use these smartphones not only to call people but to look up websites, watch videos and do face to face chat… Great! People are doing these things while driving… not so great.

According to research from Monach University, drivers who use hand-held devices are 4 times more likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves. And that research is from 2006… we didn’t even have the first Iphone then!

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by cerromijares

#3 Putting on Makeup / Grooming

We know you have to look pretty for your trip to… everywhere. But let’s face it, this is one of the worst things you can do while driving. You have to use both hands for several of your processes and take your eyes off the road and into the rear-view or shade mirrors to see what you are applying to your face. What you are left with is a person driving with their knees and eyes off the road and mind on anything driving. Gives the phrase “Beautiful but Deadly” a new meaning, huh?

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by indigoprime

#4 Eating and Drinking:
For those impatient enough to scarf down their food while driving are putting everyone around them in danger. Let’s think about this logically. You get a burger, soft drink and fries. After getting your bag and driving off you have to first, open the bag, usually leaving only one hand (if not just your knees) controlling the steering wheel. Second, You find your burger begin unwrapping it, look at it before eating and start your journey to a one-handed- mouth full- eyes distracted trip.

That soda is bound to spill unexpectedly and you will try to catch it while jolting the car in your panic. Those fries leave your hands filled with oils that just won’t come out without a proper wash and your slippery steering wheel shows it. Now you have a steering wheel which might slip from your grip as you take a turn. Sounds like an accident waiting to happen when you think about it, but how many of us have done this before? I know I’ve done similar.

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by joguldi

#5 Reading

Probably the only time you’ll ever hear this… don’t you dare read!… and drive, that is. This includes Maps and GPS’s. The time you could spend trying to find the right spot on the map or configure that GPS is not worth the potentially catastrophic results. Pull over if you have to.

So you’re thinking: “Well, I’m a good driver, isn’t it ok for me and other safe drivers to talk on the phone or text every once in a while?” Answer: NO. According to Distraction.com, the brain diverts 39% of the energy ordinarily devoted to safe driving while talking on the phone.

Using a cell phone while driving delays your reaction time as much as having a blood alcohol concentration of .08, the legal limit for drunk driving. I know the urges are strong but keep in mind everything you do in your car can affect a whole log of people around you. Keep safe and your eyes on the road!

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