Would you read a book while driving a car? Never, right? You need your hands to hold the book, your eyes to read the page, your mind to comprehend what you’re reading. It’s just not possible. Now, would you read something on your cell phone while driving a vehicle? You need your hands to hold the phone, your eyes to see the screen, and your mind to comprehend what you’re reading or looking at. This behavior doesn’t leave much room for the most important task at hand – to drive safely. In fact, it turns you into a distracted driver.
The bottom line is this: If you’re doing anything other than driving your car and paying attention to that activity, you’re multitasking. And that puts you at a greater risk of being in an automobile accident.
They’re Not Myths – They’re Reality
Myths abound when it comes to the smartest ways to operate a motor vehicle. The National Safety Council (NSC) highlights the critical need for motorists to #JustDrive during April, Distracted Driving Awareness Month. You may be shocked to learn that seemingly safe driving habits are some of the most dangerous.
Here is the reality:
- Infotainment is dangerous. Fifty percent of drivers believe that a built-in infotainment system in your car is safe to use while driving. After all, it’s right there on the dashboard and easy to see. But the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that drivers who do voice tasks via infotainment systems may remain distracted for as long as 27 seconds after they finish a task.
- Hands-free is a hazard. Voice-to-text. Earpiece. Dashboard system. Speakerphone. You are winning, keeping that smartphone tucked away when you’re behind the wheel and making the smart choices. Don’t get smug yet. Hands-free devices create a false sense of security among motorists. Studies have shown that using voice-to-text is more distracting than typing texts by hand.
- You can’t see what you’re looking at. Even though you’re gazing out the windshield while driving, if you can’t remember the terrain around you, if you’ve gotten from Point A to Point B without recollecting all the highway in between, you’re a distracted driver. Drivers who talk on phones – handheld or hands-free – have a narrowed field of vision and miss seeing up to 50 percent of what is around them. This includes other drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians.
- Your job could kill you. Adults know distracted driving is dangerous but many believe they can’t afford to miss any work-related calls, emails, or text messages, even as they’re commuting to the office. The reality is that car crashes are the number one cause of workplace deaths, and distracted driving is a leading factor in road fatalities.
- No one is a good multitasker. The brain is capable of quickly toggling between two tasks, but it cannot do two things at a time. If you aren’t focused on driving, then you’re not driving safely. The activity area in the brain that processes moving images decreases by up to one-third when listening to someone talking on the phone.
- Car accidents are caused by user error. Ninety-four percent of car crashes are caused by driver error. And that means nearly all the crashes that occur on Michigan highways are completely preventable.
You need your hands on the wheel, your eyes on the road, and your mind on driving. All it takes is one second of distraction to lead to a car crash. Just a picture… just a quick call… just an email… just a text… just a glance… just put the phone down and #justdrive.
If you have been the victim of an car crash caused by a distracted driver, contact your Michigan auto accident attorney David Femminineo to discuss your case.