What Exactly is Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving has become an increasing problem in the United States. The CDC states that approximately 9 people are killed and many more are injured every day due to some form of distracted driving. When we think of distracted driving, our first thought goes to texting and talking on the phone — but there are so many other forms of distracted driving we may not even realize. If you’re doing anything else but driving and staying focused on the road, you’re putting yourself and others at risk. By educating yourself about the dangers of distracted driving and sharing the information with your loved ones, you can help prevent the number of accidents caused by negligent driving in Albuquerque. 

The Dangers of Distracted Driving

Young drivers are the most susceptible to distracted driving. According to the CDC, drivers under the age of 20 have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes. With the unavoidable presence of smartphones in today’s society, it’s no wonder that younger drivers are finding it harder to resist changing the song, replying to a text, or searching for directions. Did you know that if “…you are traveling at 55 mph, sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for about 5 seconds, which is long enough to travel the length of a football field” (NHTSA)? In just those 5 seconds, you can travel such a long distance that appropriately reacting to someone cutting into your lane or a light that just turned red can be next to impossible. That’s why it’s wise to take every precaution necessary to make sure your eyes and your mind are focused on what’s happening on the road in front of you so you can react quickly to your environment.

There are three types of distracted driving: visual, manual, and cognitive distractions. Anything that takes your eyes visually off the road, your hands physically off of the steering wheel, or your mind off of focusing on the road constitutes as distracted driving, which can result in your or someone else being seriously harmed. The following is a list of just a few actions that can qualify as distracted driving:

  • Texting/talking on the phone
  • Applying makeup/brushing hair
  • Eating or drinking
  • Changing the radio or song
  • Smoking 
  • Rummaging through your purse or car
  • Pets or children distracting you in the car
  • Looking at a store sign or billboard on the side of the road
  • Daydreaming 

Yes, it’s true – even getting lost in a daydream can count as a form of distracted driving because it takes your focus off the road and the drivers around you. So what are some things you can do to stay safe? Consider creating a specific music playlist for driving so you don’t have to constantly switch songs, set your phone to airplane mode when you’re in the car, secure all pets in the back where they can’t distract you, and save snacking for when you get home! Any form of distracted driving can come with serious consequences. Take the pledge to be solely focused on the road while you’re driving—it could save your life! 

If you’ve been harmed due to a distracted driver, call The Dinelli Law Firm in Albuquerque today to stand up and fight for you!