Phone Use: Not the Only Factor Behind Distracted Driving

Many of us either own a car or drive one regularly. To those of us who are behind the wheel quite often, knowing about the potential for accidents associated with distractions could save lives.

According to AAA Washington’s CEO, distractions are not only associated with cell phone use. When you’re behind the wheel, distractions vary. They may include activities that involve personal grooming, eating, drinking, listening to audiobooks, testing, calling someone, talking to passengers, using a hands-free device, or even reaching out for an object inside the car.

A recent study on distracted driving and the behaviors associated with it has been making the rounds. The media has covered it, but few members of the public have actually paid attention.

According to the study, activities that expose drivers to distracted driving risks have been placed in three different categories: mild danger, moderate danger, and high danger. The categories may help the public to identify exactly what may expose them to serious risks and what isn’t so they can better manage their own activities.

The study shows that distractions associated with listening to an audiobook or to the radio all fall under the mild danger category, but talking on a handheld or even hands-free smartphone fall under the moderate danger category. Hands-free devices do not eliminate the distracted driving risks. According to safety experts, the technology simply changes what kind of distractions drivers are exposed to, but it doesn’t put an end to distracted driving.

Other studies have already addressed this matter. Their results show voice-to-text technology is rated as a high danger mostly because of the phones’ level of accuracy.

Experts say that texting while driving affects the driver visually, cognitively, and manually. The act to text and drive affects all areas and forces the driver to experience a much slower response time. For a driver on a vehicle going at 55 mph, sending a text message for 5 seconds means traveling the length of a football field while not even looking at the road. The accident risk increases dramatically and puts the lives of the driver and several others in great danger.

Drivers who are concerned about the risks associated with distracted driving should make sure to plan ahead. According to experts, drivers must do the necessary changes to their routines so they are ready to avoid being distracted while behind the wheel. Having their Bluetooth device connected to the car is a great first step. With that, the driver won’t be caught off guard if he or she receives a call.

Planning on not using an electronic device whatsoever could also help.

If you’re curious to know more about the latest AAA study and what safety experts are saying about it, follow this link.


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