If you or someone you know thinks you can drive just fine while talking on your phone or texting, consider this: An estimated 3,328 people died in the U.S. and 421,000 people were injured in auto accidents tied to distracted drivers in 2012, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
For teen drivers, distractions are an even bigger problem. Teens are distracted about 25% of the time while driving and car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the U.S., according to a recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Arguably more shocking than the study's statistics are the in-car videos from the study.
Distractions on the road come in many forms, according to www.distraction.gov, a U.S. Department of Transportation website. There are three main kinds of distractions:
- Visual –taking your eyes off the road
- Manual –taking your hands off the wheel
- Cognitive –taking your mind off what you’re doing
Here are a few tips to help you avoid distractions:
- Put your phone in silent mode and store it away from reach to reduce temptation.
- If a call or a text can’t wait, pull over in a safe spot before using your phone.
- Have a passenger answer your phone or return text messages for you.
- Finish tasks like shaving or applying makeup before you get in the car.
- If you or your kids are emotional, calm down before hitting the road.
Whenever you’re on the road, whether it's a straight forward drive through Irvine on the 405 or windy section of PCH in Newport Coast, it’s not a time to multi-task. Focus on driving safely.