Be a Smart, Not a Distracted Driver
Too many accidents are caused by people using cell phones or texting while driving.
Each April, we bring attention to one of the worst epidemics on the road: distracted driving. Currently throughout the United States, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cellphones or electronic devices while driving. If a driver isn’t paying 100 percent attention to the road, it can result in potentially catastrophic situations. When there is a distracted driver on the road, everyone is in danger.
The National Department of Transportation and the National Safety Council have made April the National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Even though we have laws protecting us against distracted driving, it is an increasing hazard on the road among drivers. In Wisconsin specifically, there is a ban on texting for all drivers and all cellphone use for new drivers.
Here’s what you should know about distracted driving:
Distracted driving is defined as any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving. This can come in three main forms:
Visual distractions, such as taking your eyes off the road while texting, reading or grooming.
Manual distractions, like removing your hands from the wheel to eat, change the radio or program your GPS.
Cognitive distractions, in which drivers become mentally distracted by distractions like a conversation or attempting to use a voice-to-text feature.
On the road, every second counts. It takes an average of 2.9 seconds to answer a ringing cell phone and 4.6 seconds to read or send a text message. Less than 5 seconds may seem like a small amount of time, but these few seconds are all it takes to cause a distracted driving car crash.
In just 2.9 seconds, a car traveling at 40 mph moves 58.7 feet. At 60 mph, the car moves 88 feet per second. If a driver answers the phone at 40 mph, he will travel 170 feet before he next looks at the road. At 60 mph, he will travel just over 255 feet.
In just 4.6 seconds, a car traveling at 40 mph will move 270 feet. At 60 mph, the distance will be 405 feet. A football field is 360 feet long. Consider what could happen if you drove with your eyes off of the road for longer than the length of a football field.
Many of us live very busy lives and attempt to multitask, but this can lead to serious consequences. When your brain is focused on another task that isn’t the road, it decreases the quality of driving. Distracted driving is something that we choose, but we should not let objects and people control our actions.
Pay attention on the roads this April, and all year round. You can work to prevent distracted driving crashes by making driving your focus, expecting the unexpected, appointing a designated texter and avoiding driving when upset, angry or tired. While these are just a few suggestions, they can make a huge impact on the overall safety on the roads.
To raise awareness to the dangers that distracted driving can bring, Hupy and Abraham has produced numerous public service announcements and has distributed hundreds of thousands of DNT TXT N DRV bumper stickers in the local community. If you would like to help spread this message, please visit our website to obtain a free sticker of your own.