We’ve all heard about the dangers of drunk driving and even drowsy driving, but there’s another type of hazardous driving that is becoming more pervasive each day – distracted driving.
Distracted driving, unfortunately, happens on our roads every day. Why? Because we are a society of multi-taskers. We eat on the go, surf radio channels, and check ourselves out in the mirror - all while we are driving. Combine these habits with the barrage of electronic devices – cell phones, portable music players, and navigational systems, it’s a miracle we don’t have many more accidents on the road.
And the next generation of drivers is picking up our bad habits. We equip a teen with an instrument of steel that weighs thousands of pounds, put them on the road with thousands of other drivers, and give them a cell phone. And no matter how often we caution, they are using the phone while driving. It is literally killing them. But let’s be fair, they’ve learned it from watching adults. It’s killing us too. Teens may get the bad rap for being all consumed in social media and texting, but adults are also culprits.
There are countless distractions that occur while driving. Most fall within these three categories: visual, manual, and cognitive.
Visual distractions can be anything that takes a driver’s attention away from the road. It is the most common type of driver distraction. Items that may cause this type of distraction include in-vehicle devices such as radios, GPS mapping, and cell phones.
Manual distractions are described as anything requiring the driver to remove at least one hand from the steering wheel. This includes changing radio stations or playlists, entering GPS data, eating and drinking, reading and sending text messages or posts on social media.
Cognitive distractions take place when a driver’s attention drifts and loses focus while driving. This can be caused by environmental surroundings, day dreaming, talking on the phone, as well as personal issues such as emotional or financial problems.
We are complex beings who are capable of processing a lot of information quickly; however, we are truly over-taxing ourselves when we’re on the road. We are not super-human, and we are not invincible. They say time waits for no one, but that song, donut, or text can.
At SA-SO Signs & Safety, safety is our business, and we want to help make our communities safer. Please encourage your loved ones to reduce the distractions in their commute. It really can wait.