Reducing Distractions While Driving Could Save Your Life

More than 100 Americans are injured every day in crashes caused by distracted driving.
Man using a smartphone while driving a car

In 2017 alone, 3,166 people died due to motor vehicle accidents caused by distracted driving.[1] Because April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, we wanted to share a few tips on eliminating distractions while driving.

There are three main types of distraction while driving – visual (taking your eyes off the road), manual (taking your hands off the wheel) and cognitive (taking your mind off driving).[2] While the focus is often on visual distractions such as texting, manual and cognitive distractions can be just as dangerous. Manual distractions include activities like eating, drinking, and adjusting the radio or climate control. Cognitive distractions include phone calls, talking to passengers or using voice commands. Even hands-free activities, such as phone calls using a Bluetooth headset, are distracting while driving.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the average time a person’s eyes are off the road while texting is five seconds – a much longer period than most people think. At 55 miles per hour, that’s enough time to cover more than the length of an entire football field.[3]

Taking your eyes off the road for only two seconds increases your odds of being in a collision by 40%. No text or phone call is worth the risk of hurting yourself or others.

At Red Classic, Red Rule #1 is Safety Comes First. Following are a few ways to put safety first
while driving your personal vehicle:

  • Give your FULL attention to driving. You never know what other drivers may do.
  • Complete all texts and phone calls before driving.
  • Mute notifications to reduce the temptation to look at your phone while driving.
  • Input GPS directions before leaving.
  • Secure loose items so they are not rolling around while driving.
  • Avoid eating while driving, especially messy foods that are difficult to handle.
  • If something demands your attention while driving, pull off the road and stop in a safe place to take care of it.

Removing distractions while driving is something we all can do to make the roads safer
for everyone.

[1] National Center for Statistics and Analysis. (2019, April). Distracted driving in fatal crashes, 2017. (Traffic Safety Facts Research Note. Report No. DOT HS 812 700). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

[2] National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Policy Statement and Compiled FAQs on Distracted Driving. U.S. Department of
Transportation, Washington, DC. Available at: http://www.nhtsa.gov.edgesuite-staging.net/Driving+Safety/Distracted+Driving/Policy+Statement+and+Compiled+FAQs+on+Distracted+DrivingExternal. Accessed 18 April 2019.

[3] National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Facts and Statistics. U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington, DC. Available at: http://www.distraction.gov/stats-research-laws/facts-and-statistics.htmlExternal. Accessed 18 April 2019.