Driving is a task that requires our full attention. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,142 people died in crashes involving distracted drivers in 2019. As little as 5 seconds of distraction can result in a car accident, so we must avoid losing focus whenever we get behind the wheel. You can prevent an unwanted car crash by knowing what actions constitute the different types of distracted driving.
If you take a hand off the steering wheel, your ability to react to the unexpected will diminish, and your chances of getting into an accident would be higher. For this reason, you must keep both hands on the steering wheel all the time while driving. Adjusting the radio or climate controls, reaching out for food or drinks or applying makeup are some types of manual distractions that you must avoid.
One of the major driving rules is that drivers must never take their eyes off the road ahead. When driving at 55mph, looking at your phone for five seconds is the same as driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed. Visual distractions include looking at the GPS, the stereo, or a person or object on the street. However, the most common and dangerous visual distraction is texting while driving, which is illegal in Oklahoma.
Cognitive distractions take your mind off driving. These distractions may be more difficult to prevent because they are involuntary. However, you can avoid them by learning what can cause you to lose focus while driving. Talking to passengers, daydreaming and overthinking while driving can be cognitive distractions. If there’s a day in which you feel like you have too much on your head, it might be best to avoid driving.
Everyone can get distracted while driving. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drivers aged 15-19 are more likely to be distracted than other drivers. If you have a teen at home, you should talk to them about the possible distractions and their consequences. Only by knowing the risks can we avoid them, so you must inform your loved ones about the dangers of distracted driving.