Nine. A relatively small number until you put it into context. Every day, nine lives are lost due to distracted driving. Driving is something that many of us do each day without putting in much thought or energy, almost like being on autopilot. Instead of using driving as a time to unwind, focusing on the road and getting to our destination safely, we are now consumed by distractions. Fortunately, you have the power to turn those distractions off…but will you?
According to Teen Safe, “there are 3,287 deaths each day due to fatal car crashes. On average, nine of these daily fatalities are related to distracted driving.” That’s nine lives that could have been saved from distractions that are completely and unarguably avoidable. Every time you get behind the wheel you are taking a risk but it’s a risk over which you have some control. According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, a staggering 660,000 drivers use their cell phones while driving during daylight hours. Using that phone to text while driving increases the chances of an accident by 23%! Imagine driving the length of a football field with your eyes completely closed. The NHTSA also states that it takes five seconds at 55 miles per hour to cover the length of a football field; the same amount of time it takes to send or read a short text message. That’s more than enough time to veer off the road, cross over the center line, or collide with the median or a vehicle ahead of you.
Don’t become a statistic of this epidemic. April is just around the corner and has been deemed Distracted Driver Awareness Month. It’s a great time to reflect before getting behind the wheel. The text message can wait. The phone call can be ignored. But your life or someone else’s life can’t take a back seat.
And just putting down the phone isn’t enough. Other distractions include loud music, passengers or pets in the car, getting lost in thought, reading signs or billboards off the road, looking at passengers in your rearview mirror, eating and drinking, fiddling with your control panel, stereo, or navigation system, and much more.
We live incredibly busy lives that require so much of our time and energy. Use the moments spent behind the wheel to relax and focus on nothing else besides arriving at your destination safely. Your life, and the lives of many others, depend on it.