Friday, August 10, 2012

What is Distracted Driving?

We frequently talk about the subject of “distracted driving” on this blog so we wanted to give you some helpful information on the subject.

In a recent study conducted by Carnegie Mellon University regarding multi-tasking while driving, they concluded that driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37%.

According to the website, distracted driving is any activity that could divert a person's attention away from the primary task of driving. All distractions endanger driver, passenger, and bystander safety. These types of distractions include:

• Texting

• Using a cell phone or smartphone

• Eating and drinking

• Talking to passengers

• Grooming

• Reading, including maps

• Using a navigation system

• Watching a video

• Adjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player

But, because text messaging requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver, it is by far the most alarming distraction.

Here are 10 tips from the Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA) for managing some of the most common distractions.

Turn it off. Turn your phone off or switch to silent mode before you get in the car.

Spread the word. Set up a special message to tell callers that you are driving and you’ll get back to them as soon as possible, or sign up for a service that offers this.

Pull over. If you need to make a call, pull over to a safe area first.

Use your passengers. Ask a passenger to make the call for you.

X the Text. Don’t ever text and drive, surf the web or read your email while driving. It is dangerous and against the law in most states.

Know the law. Familiarize yourself with state and local laws before you get in the car. Some states and localities prohibit the use of hand held cell phones. GHSA offers a handy chart of state laws on its website:

Prepare. Review maps and directions before you start to drive. If you need help when you are on the road, ask a passenger to help or pull over to a safe location to review the map/directions again.

Secure your pets. Pets can be a big distraction in the car. Always secure your pets properly before you start to drive.

Keep the kids safe. Pull over to a safe location to address situations with your children in the car.

Focus on the task at hand. Refrain from smoking, eating, drinking, reading and any other activity that takes your mind and eyes off the road.