While driving have you ever changed a CD, talked on a cell phone, looked at a map, had a cup of coffee or turned to talk to your children in the back seat while driving. These are all examples of distracted driving and it can lead to tragic consequences. A recent study shows that 8 out of 10 crashes are due to driver distractions.
But it’s only for a second or two
Even if you only take your eyes off the road for a second or two, there’s plenty of time for something to go wrong. If you are driving at 50 km/h, in those two seconds your vehicle will travel almost 30 metres. Two seconds is just long enough to miss a car pulling out from a side road or miss seeing the traffic light change.
There are different types of distractions
Drivers can be distracted by things inside the vehicle (e.g., having a conversation or taking a sip of coffee) or things that are outside the vehicle (e.g., looking for a street address). There are three basic types of distractions:
Physical – These kinds of distractions cause drivers to take their hands off the wheel. Eating, changing a CD, and drinking a coffee.
Cognitive – Having a conversation or argument with another passenger, or talking on a cell phone.
Combination – Other types of distractions can take your hands, eyes and mind off the task of driving. Combination distractions include: looking at a map, applying make-up and programming your radio.
Give driving your full attention
Driving is a complex task that requires your full attention. Your safety depends on you keeping your hands on the wheel, your eyes on the road and your mind focussed on driving.
What can you do?
There are a number of things you can do to help you keep focussed:
- Plan your route before you leave home
- Avoid eating and drinking on the run
- Turn your cell phone off
- Put your electronic devices out of reach
For more information
Canadian Automobile Association – Driven to Distraction