It can be difficult for drivers of any age or experience level to engage in distracted driving. You essentially risk getting in a car accident every time you drive, so not paying attention to the road ahead can only increase the probability of a crash. And, yes, using your cell phone is a form of distracted driving.
According to the Center for Disease Control, there are three different types of distractions a driver can encounter:
- Visual ones that make you look away from the road
- Manual diversions that require the use of your hands
- Cognitive interruptions that allow your mind to fill with thoughts beyond the realm of driving
When you use your cell phone behind the wheel, you usually face a combination of these distractions. And when drivers multitask, accidents can happen. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reveals that distracted driving played a role in almost a tenth of all fatal crashes that happened in the last seven years.
It might not be ideal to think about death when you are just trying to commute from your home to work or head to the grocery store. However, in this digital age you might have just have to remind yourself of the worst-case scenario if you were to pick up the phone to text your family to preheat the oven for dinner as you try to navigate rush hour traffic.
There are already distractions you will come across that are beyond your control, like a road closure or sudden rain. But, if you are looking down at your phone, then you might miss the signs noting that there is construction ahead and may hit traffic cones, or worse, a construction worker. And when you must react to surprises on the road that will obstruct your view, like rain, your safest bet is to not be juggling anything in your hands besides the steering wheel. That way you can easily manage turning on your windshield wiper while safely steering before the rain completely blocks your view.
Picking up your phone to change up the music or phone a friend can seem like second nature. But it’s important to remember these seemingly harmless actions can cause irreparable damage.