Why We’re all Guilty of Distracted Driving Behaviors
[eDriving's contributory teen writer Grace Keller talks about why we're all guilty of distracted driving behaviors and shares her own methods for avoiding distractions behind the wheel. Read Grace's Drivers Ed Diary here.]
Though I may be young for someone driving, I feel it’s important for me to set one thing straight. It’s one thing to be adjusting the volume on the car radio while driving, or maybe rolling down your windows, but when I start to see snapchat stories of my peers taking videos while driving, or a friend texting me back when I know they’re driving home, that sets off some serious alarms for me.
Not only do these things make me incredibly worrisome for my peers, but they’re also indications that these drivers are not mature enough or responsible enough to be on the roads. Despite this though, we’re all guilty of these distracted driving behaviors while driving – no matter what we might think. Every time you let yourself sing a little too loudly to the music on the radio, every time you’re eating your breakfast while driving since you’re running a little bit late, and every time you answer that phone call or text message.
In my personal opinion (and I would hope many others) a car is no place for tweeting, snapping, instagramming, texting, or even just getting a little bit preoccupied looking for the perfect song to play while driving down the highway. Unless of course, you’re not the one driving said car, and you’re not becoming a distraction for the driver. Of course, I’m no expert on this either. I still have a long way to go in my knowledge as a driver. But, this knowledge only comes from experience.
Tips for avoiding distracted driving behaviors
To keep myself from getting distracted while driving, I usually throw my backpack in the back seat with my phone and all my other potential distractions in it, so that I don’t even become tempted. Though I admit it can be difficult – I mean, we’re all living in a very high-tech society where we feel the need to constantly be plugged into our social media, group-chats, etc., but whatever it is you need to look at or check up on can wait.
Another way to keep yourself from getting distracted behind the wheel is pulling off the road if you’re feeling drowsy, to avoid falling asleep or becoming less aware of your surroundings due to exhaustion. Other tips include limiting the number of passengers in the car, not eating while driving, and saving your multi-tasking for outside the car and off the road.
In 2015 alone, 3,477 people were killed by distracted driving, and 391,000 people were injured by it. During the daytime, about 660,000 drivers were preoccupied with their cell phones while driving, and teens were the biggest age group involved in this (Source: NHTSA). Hopefully these statistics show that distracted driving is a serious issue, and a seriously dangerous one, too.
It’s completely beyond me why anyone would even think to text someone back when they’re on the highway – it just puts your life in risk, as well as the lives of others. Knowing how many people’s lives are risked when distracted driving is at play, and how serious this issue truly is, it’s important to do whatever we can to lessen these deaths and injuries by being responsible when behind the wheel, and saving the distractions for somewhere else – not on the road.
This blog post has been published in support of Distracted Driving Awareness Month. To coincide with the campaign, eDriving has launched a new Distracted Driving Center where you can find everything you need to know about distracted driving and eliminating distracted driving behaviors.