A Deep Dive into the Impact of Distracted Driving on Road Safety
Not paying due care or attention when driving aka distracted driving is one of the most common causes of accidents here in the United Kingdom and is a major concern for all road users as well as pedestrians alike. It is almost the most common occurrences that lead to car accident injuries and fatalities worldwide. In this article we take a look at how distracted driving has an impact on overall road safety as well as providing some key tips to avoid distractions whilst behind the wheel.
The Reality of Distracted Driving
Distracted driving, in a nutshell, is when the driver of the vehicle engages in another activity that is unrelated to the safe operation of the vehicle. There are many causes (and some of these illegal in the UK.) that can cause a distraction. These include such activities as using a mobile phone whilst driving (Now it is illegal whether making a call or texting.), eating or drinking whilst driving, changing the radio channel or music, talking with other passengers, daydreaming or even down to the lack of sleep. As a result, any of these activities can lead to a road accident.
Case Study into Distracted Driving.
A study carried out in the US by the NHTSA (National Highway Safety Administration) concluded that distracted driving was responsible for the deaths of 3,142 people in the USA. Also in the US, The CDC (Centre for Disease Control) estimates that on average distracted driving is responsible for 9 deaths per day and over 1000 car accidents. Although we don’t have the data for the UK, this highlights the severity of distracted driving, the impact it has on people’s lives and families and the need to raise better road safety awareness for all concerned.
Impact on Road Safety:
Distracted driving is not only endangering the lives of the drivers concerned, but also their passengers, other road users such as cars, vans, motorcyclists and cyclists as well as pedestrians. With a lack of concentration drivers are less likely to be able to react in time and avoid an accident as compared to a driver paying due care and attention and aware of possible up and coming hazards or dangers. This can lead to unnecessary accidents and in the worst-case scenario, fatalities.
Here are Some Tips on How to Avoid Distracted Driving.
To reduce the risk of distracted driving, consider the following tips:
- Refrain from using mobile phones or any other digital devices while driving.
- Be sure to set everything before beginning your journey, such as your GPS, radio or music player so there will be no need for interaction whilst operating your vehicle.
- Avoid eating or drinking whilst you are behind the wheel.
- Ensure that everything is secure in the car, IE no loose bottles, or shopping etc.
- Set your GPS and adjust your music or radio settings before setting off .
- Limit your conversations with passengers and politely let them know you need to focus on driving safely.
- Be aware of your surroundings, identify any potential hazards such as pedestrians wanting to cross the road, cyclists, and other road users.
- Take regular breaks if driving any distance, even if just to rest or stretch your legs for 10 minutes, little and often is best to maintain focus whilst behind the wheel.
Once you understand the dangers you put yourself in and other people through distracted driving you become a better driver and this is vital for everyone to ensure and improving the road safety in the UK and help to reduce the number of road traffic accidents, injuries and fatalities caused by it, giving everyone a better and safer driving experience when out on our roads.