Maybe you've been tempted. Sitting at the wheel in traffic, you hear the familiar beep of a text-message alert.
Maybe your boss wants the latest numbers from today's sales meeting, or a friend wants to set up a place to meet for drinks. Traffic is backed up and you know it would take less than a minute to type a response with your thumbs, so you do. There is little risk here, you think. And then it happens ... the person in front of you stops more quickly than you expected and you crash into them.
The statistics on distracted driving are alarming
Texting while driving increases the likelihood of a crash by 22 times during the period that a driver is sending a text. That translates to a 2,200 percent increase. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA))
Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves. (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)
Between 4,000 and 8,000 crashes related to distracted driving occur daily in the United States. (NHTSA)
Distracted driving takes your mind off the road for approximately 4-6 seconds. If driving at 55 m.p.h., that translates to not having your eyes on the road for the distance of one or two football fields. (Virginia Tech Transportation Institute) )
80 percent of all crashes and 65 percent of near crashes involve some type of distraction. (Virginia Tech 100-Car Naturalistic Study for NHTSA)
The worst offenders are the youngest and least-experienced drivers: men and women under 20 years of age. (NHTSA)
Tips to Avoid Distracted Driving
Keep your eyes on the road.
Keep your mind on the road.
Keep your hands on the wheel.
Pull over to a safe location to use a cell phone.
If you must answer the phone, use a hands-free device.
Do not send or read text messages while driving.
Blackberry users: When in the car, set up a "driving" profile on your smart phone, to silence alerts and the phone.
If your phone has 'Airplane Mode', use it to temporarily suspend cell service.
Before you get on the road
Load compact discs in the player.
Set up a pre-selected playlist on an mp3 player.
Enter an address in the navigation system.
If you must text – Safely STOP and get off the road.