Many people hear the term distracted driving and not take it seriously or understand exactly what it means. This is unfortunate, because distracted driving is a major cause of accidents, and some of them are fatal. It is time that all drivers take this seriously and do what is necessary to avoid these behaviors while behind the wheel.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, distracted driving is performing any behavior that takes attention away from operating a vehicle. Examples include eating, playing with the sound system, calling or texting, putting on makeup, riding with children and reaching in the back. While all of these increase the risk of a crash, texting is the worst because it involves cognitive, manual and visual distractions.
Distracted driving injures around 1,000 and kills around nine people every day, and teenage drivers are particularly susceptible to this behavior. Not only do teen drivers have an issue with texting and other distracting actions, but evidence shows that those who text more often tend to practice other risky behaviors as well. These include not wearing a seatbelt, drinking and driving, and riding with someone who is under the influence.
According to the National Parent Teacher Association, parents play an important role in reducing their teenager’s distracting behaviors. Unfortunately, most parents do not set great examples. Around 69% of parents, and 75% of dads, perform a minimum of two distracting behaviors while behind the wheel. Along with talking to their teens about the dangers of texting, parents must also demonstrate safe driving when their teenagers are in the car.
Parents can also show how dangerous texting is by taking teenagers on a commentary drive. The teen sits in the passenger seat and texts while describing the surrounding scene. The parents can then point out potential dangers the teenager missed because of the texting.