There are different types of distracted driving:
- Visual distractions that can take your eyes off the road, such as reading signs on the side of the road;
- Manual distractions that can take your hands off the wheel, like eating; and
- Cognitive distractions that take your mind off driving, like talking with passengers or using voice-activated features.
Texting while driving combines all three types of distractions.
It takes your eyes off the road, your hand off the wheel, and your mind off of driving. This combination is dangerous and often fatal.
Every year, over 3,000 people are killed and approximately another 400,000 are injured in crashes involving a distracted driver. In fact, the National Safety Council ranks distracted driving as one of the top three causes for road related fatalities and it is completely preventable.
Tips to avoid being a distracted driver
- Fully focus on driving. It may seem obvious, but making driving your priority can cut down on the risk of distractions.
- Before you start the car, make sure your navigation is programed, your entertainment or music set up, and you’ve already contacted anyone who may need to know your arrival time.
- If possible, it’s best to eat meals or snacks before or after your trip, or when you are not actively driving. When you are refueling your car, take the time you refuel yourself with snacks before getting back behind the wheel.
- Put your phone in your bag, in the center console, or out of site and reach to limit your automatic response to grab it when you hear an alert.
- Speaking of phones, there are many free apps and built in options to prevent you from becoming distracted or using your phone while driving.
If you want to learn more about the risks and dangers around distracted driving, plan to attend the “Txt U L8r” Program!
Join us for “Txt U L8R”
Join us on April 10 for the free public event “TXT U L8R,” a unique program designed to discourage individuals from texting while driving.
Key elements include a demonstration of an advanced driving simulator, a presentation of a realistic trauma scenario, and a testimonial from the survivor of an accident caused by a teen driver who was texting.
- When: Wednesday, April 10thfrom 6-7:30
- Where: UVM Medical Center, UVM Medical Education Pavilion, Sullivan Classroom
Abby Beerman is an injury prevention coordinator at University of Vermont Medical Center and Children’s Hospital.