81% of drivers say they worry that distracted driving affects their safety on the road, according to a study by Selective. This is unsurprising considering 87% of drivers admit to driving while distracted.
One of the biggest driving distractions is cell phones. But what dangers does using your phone pose and how do you protect yourself?
There are approximately 390,000 injuries every year caused by drivers texting while driving. The NHTSA states that taking your eyes off the road for 5 seconds to read or send a text is the same as driving the length of a football pitch with your eyes shut at 55 mph. You’re also six times more likely to be involved in a car crash while texting and driving than drunk driving.
Some of the most common injuries caused by distracted driving include head injuries, internal bleeding, loss of limbs, wounds and scarring, fractures, and spinal injuries. These can be debilitating and life-changing. The best thing you can do is turn your phone off when driving or leave it in the trunk of your vehicle so you’re not tempted to use it.
You may be a law-abiding citizen who’d never dream of using your phone behind the wheel of the car, but there are plenty of drivers that do. It’s estimated that there are 660,000 drivers using their phones at any one time. These drivers aren’t doing anything to keep you safe, so you need to protect yourself.
Things to look out for when distracted driver spotting include cars swerving between lanes, a visible cell phone, the driver constantly looking down, not using signals, braking suddenly, and failing to drive at a steady speed. If you notice any of these things, get yourself to safety, take note of the vehicle’s license plate, and contact the local authority.
Using a cell phone behind the wheel of a car is a cognitive distraction. A cognitive distraction like this is believed to stop the driver from seeing around 50% of what’s in front of them. As a result, 1.6 million crashes happen every year because drivers are distracted by their phones.
The biggest danger of driving while using a cell phone is death. Sadly, more than 3,000 road deaths every year are caused by distracted driving. These deaths are completely avoidable.
Even if you do need to use your phone while driving there are safe ways to do it. These include using an in-built or external bluetooth kit, phone mount, or in-dash system, such as Android Auto. However, the safest option is to turn on the driving feature on your phone. These are ‘do not disturb’ features that stop calls and texts coming through.
Distracted driving is a serious issue on the roads. An increasing number of people are using their phones when driving without thinking about the repercussions. But with road accidents and fatalities going up, it’s time to think before using a cell phone in the car.