Dangerous Driving Distractions - Facts You Never Knew About!
The Hard facts of Dangerous Driving Distractions – How serious are they? Deadly Serious!
So, what is a dangerous driving distraction? Usually, any activity that diverts a person’s attention, or concentration away from the primary task of driving. Whether you’re at the controls of a car, van, truck, or motorcycle, anything that diverts your attention – puts you, your passengers and anyone else using the road, at serious risk.
Road safety experts classify distractions into three main types. These types include Manual functions, Visual functions and Cognitive (the mental process of perception, judgement and reasoning) functions.
Manual Distractions happen when your hands or feet move away from the controls of the vehicle. There are quite a few in this category, and can include reaching for food or drink, handling a mobile device, fastening your seat belt or adjusting your mirror, just to name a few.
Visual Distractions are instances where you divert your eyes from the road. These can include looking at text messages on your phone, looking at a map, adjusting a radio or sound system, looking at your passengers.
Cognitive Distractions are lapses in mental concentration where the mind wanders off from the task of driving. These types of distractions usually happen when your mind is preoccupied and often occur as a result of manual and visual distractions.
Given that these distractions often are interlinked, it should come as no surprise why texting, for example, has such a bad reputation – It involves all three distractions at once, making it extremely dangerous.
So, how dangerous are these distractions?
Research has shown, chatting on a mobile phone quadruples your chance of having an accident. This is around the same as if you were drunk, and behind the wheel. If you text while driving, the risk doubles again to eight times normal. Sending or receiving a text can distract a driver for up to 5 seconds, which at typical highway speeds, equates to about 300 feet your vehicle is effectively out of your control.
Young drivers are at most risk of having an accident due to distraction. This is mostly owing to inexperience, being more prone to distraction and the likelihood to overestimate the ability to multitask.
Do most drivers take this seriously?
Given that many adult drivers recognise when others are behaving irresponsibly, but are not willing to own up to their own risky driving behaviour – the answer is no!
Some studies have shown that over 90% of drivers recognise and understand the dangers of driving distractions caused by using mobile devices, and find the practice unacceptable. 35% of these same drivers admitted to viewing or sending a text.
Avoiding distractions while behind the wheel of a car is crucial for you, your passengers and other road users’ safety. Even the slightest distraction can be fatal, so, be safe on the roads, and concentrate 100% while you’re behind the wheel. If not, it’s just a matter of time before the facts catch up with you.