There’s no doubt about it, we live in a distracted society era. Everyday there are new advances in electronic devices. While these devices do make life much easier, and faster and in touch, they also contribute to our constant distraction of other things. And most importantly, they often distract us from something more important – like our driving skills. This is one area which should require all our focus, because distracted driving can kill.
Just yesterday I was in a rush driving down a stretch of highway and I was shocked at the amount of traffic for a Sunday afternoon. The car in front of me was traveling too slowly for the fast lane. It was a white commercial van and even had the 800 number printed on the back so you could call if the driver was not functioning at 100%. When he finally moved over to the right lane, and we came up alongside, I looked at the driver and sure enough, he had a personal electronic device in his hands and just a couple of fingers on the steering wheel. It was either a cell phone or a electronic reader he was looking at. Not only was he risking his own safety, but the safety of those around us.
Eighty percent of American drivers believe hands-free devices are safer than using a handheld phone. But that is just not the case. More than 30 studies show hands-free devices are no safer because the brain remains distracted by the conversation. When talking on a cell phone, drivers can miss seeing up to half of what’s around them, such as traffic lights, stop signs and pedestrians. It’s just not a good idea to engage in cell phone conversation while driving. I want to think it’s okay to have a nice chat with someone while driving, as we often do it with the passenger seated next to us, but it’s not just the conversation that’s the distraction – it’s making the call, selecting the number and getting connected that really distracts.
I’d like to challenge all my readers to take pledge to take the Focused Driving Challenge. Try it for a while and encourage your friends and family to take the challenge. It just might save a life.
Here’s some facts to help keep you safe:
- Avoid the Dash to the Dashboard
- Hands-free is not risk-free
- The Great Multitasking Lie
- Driving Down Distraction
- Cell Phone Crash Data
I’d really like to hear your experience with the challenge. Let me know what your week was like without Driving Distracted.