It's 7:30 a.m., and you jump in your car to drive to work. You have every intention of driving safely, but within minutes of getting on the road you've already checked your appearance in the mirror, fiddled with the radio, reached for your coffee mug, and sent a text message to a friend. Sound familiar? If so, you're a distracted driver.
Each time you take your focus off the road, even if just for a split second, you're putting your life and the lives of others in danger. Driving a car is a very complex task. All it takes is a glance away and you can get into serious trouble.
Distracted driving is any activity that takes your attention away from the road. From talking with passengers, to eating, to turning around to check on fidgety toddlers, distracted driving endangers you, your passengers, pedestrians and others.
There are three main types of distractions while driving:
- Cognitive distractions, such as listening to a talk radio show, cause you to take your mind off what you are doing
- Manual distractions cause you to take your hands off the wheel and
- Visual distractions cause you to take your eyes off the road
Driving is a great privilege, but with that privilege also comes responsibility. Spend your time at the wheel focused on the road, not on distractions like phones, food or friends.
Some distractions can't be eliminated, but most can be managed. For example, turn your cellphone off or silence it before you start the engine. Secure your pets properly before you begin to drive. Don't eat or drink on the road. Set your GPS before starting the engine.