Next time you’re reading a book, stand up and try to walk around while doing so. It’s tougher than you’d think, right? Simply reading and responding to texts, checking the weather, or putting in an address into GPS while driving creates an even more distracting environment.
We know that accidents caused by distractions are severely underreported, but we do know that at least a thousand people are injured each day by distracted drivers, with nine of those people dying. Drivers between the ages 18-24 are at the most risk, and startlingly 20% of that age group does not see texting while driving as a distraction.
So what can we do?
1) It should go without saying, but just wait until you park to do anything with your phone.
2) Teach teen drivers the importance of paying attention to the road at all times. If you have a specific worry with your child, research blocking programs that shut down text functions while a vehicle is in motion.
3) Take the safe driving pledge as a family. Younger kids may get a kick out of being on “cell phone/distraction” patrol in the car.
4) Spread the word! If you’re in a car where someone is texting and driving, let them know it’s not safe. Sure, you may feel funny at first, but safety is so much more important than being a little awkward.
We still aren’t sure exactly how many accidents are caused by distracted driving, but we do know that putting any distractions down while behind the wheel WILL lower your risk of being involved in a fatal car accident. So take the pledge and advocate for safer roads.