Distracted driving is a serious issue in the United States. Approximately nine people die every day in a crash that involves a distracted driver, and 1,000 more are injured. Get the details on the biggest distractions when driving and make a point to avoid these distractions. Staying focused on the road is the key to avoiding accidents, serious injuries, and death.
We've all read the studies and heard the public service announcements declaring that driving while talking on a cell phone is dangerous. But what about hands-free cell phone use, using an earpiece, speakerphone, or dashboard system? Driving with both hands on the steering wheel is safer than driving with one hand while the other holds a cell phone, right? Well, not entirely. Contrary to the belief of many drivers across the country that hands-free devices are safer to use while driving than handheld devices, the National Safety Council (NSC) disagrees.
While the late days of winter and early days of spring aren't exactly ideal road trip weather, sometimes a long trip in the car is inevitable. No matter what time of year you travel, don't end your trip with an accident and potential injuries. If you're driving long distances, whether this month or in the near future, consider taking these safety tips into account before you begin your journey.
Get Your Beauty Rest
The night before a trip or vacation, it's vital to get a good night's sleep so you are ready for your long drive. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), driving while drowsy was responsible for 72,000 crashes and over 800 deaths in 2013, which are believed to be low estimates. When you're tired, you have slower reaction times, are more likely to swerve into other lanes and can even fall asleep at the wheel. Don't let that happen to you. Plan to sleep 6-8+ hours before your trip.
If you notice you're beginning to become tired while driving, (yawning, hitting the rumble strip or closing your eyes repeatedly) it's best to get off the road immediately. Stop at the next rest area or gas station to stretch your legs, try drinking water, coffee or soda with caffeine and see if that makes you more alert. If these don't help, it is best to switch drivers or stop for the evening.
Pack Your Car Emergency Kit
Many drivers aren't aware of what to include in their car emergency kit. While it may change depending on what time of year it is, here are some general recommendations to include:
Nearly a third of all traffic-related deaths involve the use of alcohol. Even one or two drinks at a work party or a family holiday event can impact your driving and cause extreme injury to you and others. In 2016, there were 2,017 people killed in alcohol-related crashes where drivers had lower blood alcohol levels (BACs of .01 to .07 g/dL). Even with these lower alcohol levels, you can expect to experience difficulty multi-tasking, visual impairment, and reduced coordination. All of these potential symptoms make it harder to react in an emergency situation on the road.
In our last blog, we discussed the dangers of distracted driving and its alarming related figures in the United States. You know that distracted driving can have detrimental consequences, but did you know that they can extend to your driving record and pocketbook?
In a society where we're attached to our smartphones, tablets, and other fancy gadgets, it's easy to continue our digital engagement habits when we get behind the wheel. But that "On my way" text message or quick bite to eat on the way back to the office can quickly turn disastrous. Distracted driving is performing other tasks that could potentially distract a driver from the primary task of operating the vehicle. Examples of distracted driving include: