Distracted driving occurs when motorists allow other activities to pull their focus from the road. Distractions prevent drivers from anticipating and responding to hazards in time to prevent a collision.
Many people underestimate the risk that distractions pose to motorists, pedestrians and other people on the roadways. All drivers should understand the dangers before getting behind the wheel.
How dangerous is distracted driving?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that, in 2019, distracted driving resulted in more than 3,100 fatalities and accounted for 15% of all police-reported automobile collisions.
Of the many types of distractions, texting is the most prevalent and the most dangerous. Sending a text requires motorists to take their eyes off the road for about five seconds. At 55 mph, this is the equivalent of driving the length of a whole football field. According to the NHTSA, texting while operating a vehicle is six times more dangerous than driving under the influence of alcohol.
How can drivers prevent distractions?
One of the most important things drivers can do to reduce distractions is to place their mobile phones in Do Not Disturb mode. Motorists should also avoid other distracting behaviors, including:
- Eating and drinking
- Adjusting navigation, entertainment or climate control settings
- Listening to loud music or other audio
- Talking with passengers
Though people cannot control what other motorists do on the road, they can control the distractions within their own vehicles. If an accident still occurs, motorists may be able to collect compensation for any injuries or damage.