We Know Distracted Driving Is Bad (But We Do it Anyway)
Distracted driving is deadly: 3,142 people died as a result of distracted driving in 2019, according to the most recent data from the National Highway Transportation Administration (NHTSA). Seemingly harmless behaviors like quickly reading a text message can have serious consequences. And distracted driving isn’t limited to texts. Distracted driving is defined as any activity that diverts your attention from driving, such as texting, talking on the phone, eating and drinking, and adjusting your radio, infotainment or navigation system.
Consider this: Sending or reading a text that takes your eyes off the road for five seconds while driving 55 mph is like driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed.
The overwhelming majority (87%) of drivers know that cell phone use while driving is a dangerous activity, according to a recent survey by Farmers Insurance. Still, more than half (53%) of those drivers admit to making a call while driving and 45% admit to sending, reading or receiving a text message. Texting while driving is banned for all drivers in every state except Missouri and Montana.
The Majority of Drivers are Distracted at Least Once a Day
More than 70% of drivers are distracted at least once a day, according to data obtained from Nationwide’s SmartRide telematics program. Nationwide launched a distracted driving program through its SmartRide mobile app in June 2020. The program examined active screen time while the car was moving more than 9.3 mph In September 2020, these distracted driving trends were uncovered:
- The most distracted time window is 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
- The majority of distractions happen between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.
- The most distracted day of the week is Friday
- The least distracted day of the week is Tuesday
- The average speed when a distraction occurs is 45 mph
- The average screen tapping event lasts six seconds
- Handheld phone calls average 160 seconds
How to Stop Distracted Driving
The best way to fight distracted driving starts with you. By modeling safe driving practices, you can lead by example and encourage your peers and younger drivers to cut out distractions. Here are some tips:
- Try to drive phone-free. Even hands-free calling and voice texting can be distracting. You can use smartphone features like Apple’s Do Not Disturb While Driving or Android’s driving mode to disable interruptions like incoming text messages and social media notifications.
- Never text while driving.
- Focus on driving. You are, after all, operating a complex machine.
- Do tasks such as setting a destination in your GPS, picking out your music and making a phone call before or after your trip.
- Avoid eating while driving. Eating can take your eyes off the road, your hands off the steering wheel and your mind off driving.