Distracted Driving: What Can Happen, the Consequences, and How to Avoid It

Distracted driving causes 80% of car crashes and 65% of near-crashes, making it the leading cause of both.

Though 90% of drivers reportedly believe that cell phone usage while driving is “unacceptable,” a quarter of all accidents involve texting, talking, or otherwise using a cell phone while driving.

What Can Happen
In order to safely operate a vehicle, a driver needs to use complex movements involving both mind and body. Cell phone usage requires the same kind of attention… attention that should be used to drive safely.

The average driver takes five seconds to read a text message. At 55 miles per hour, a texting driver would cross an entire football field, without once looking at the road. Over 30% of drivers report having sent, read, or received a text message while driving, and another 10% use a phone while driving no matter what the activity is. The consequences are real; every single day 1,060 people are injured and nine killed due to crashes caused by distracted driving.

How to Avoid Cell Phone Use While Driving

The best way to avoid accidents due to distracted driving is to do what you can to stop using your cell phone on the road:

  • Set your phone on silent when you start driving. This way if you receive a call or text message, you won’t feel tempted to check it.
  • Make sure that you send any text messages or make any phone calls before you start driving.
  • Set your route before driving if you use your phone for directions.
  • Put your phone in the glove compartment before you begin driving and don’t take it out until you have arrived at your destination. In most cases, if something is out of sight, it’s also out of mind.
  • Get an app. There are a number of different phone applications out there that can block text messages and phone calls and even send back an automated response saying that you’re unavailable. Some apps even turn off all notifications if you’re going more than 10 miles per hour.
  • Most importantly, remember that it can wait. Whatever you need to say in a phone call or through a text message can wait until you aren’t driving.

Cell phone use while driving is distracted driving, and the consequences can be fatal. It’s up to you to keep in mind what can happen when drivers become distracted, and to make safe driving a priority. 

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