It’s a well-known fact that teens are often guilty of distracted driving. During a time when interaction with peers is top on the list of priorities, it’s hard for a teen to ignore a text message or phone call. But, are teens the only ones who are susceptible to distracted driving?
With a large percentage of people always carrying cell phones, adults are often just as guilty of distraction while driving. People expect you to be just a phone call or text away, and you have probably gotten in the habit of answering right away.
Common Distractions While Driving
Any activity that takes your concentration away from being fully focused on the act of driving is a distraction. This includes any and all of the following
- Talking or arguing with passengers
- Talking on the phone
- Eating or drinking
- Focusing on the GPS
- Trying to find a radio station
- Changing a CD
It’s impossible to drive safely if your full attention isn’t focused on what you are doing. The few seconds it takes to glance at a text or turn to look at a passenger can be deadly.
How Parents Are Guilty of Distracted Driving
While teens are in the largest category of distracted drivers, adults are guilty of distracted driving, too. In the case of adults, texting or reading a text is a common way of being distracted, but it’s not the only way that adults have been known to take their focus off driving.
Parents are often trying to multitask with children in the car. Many moms can relate to frantically trying to sooth a crying baby while driving. You may have had to navigate unfamiliar neighborhoods while plugging your location into a GPS, or try to break up a fight between siblings in the back seat. Or, your spouse or boss insists on calling you while you are on the road, and you pick up the phone.
How Bad is the Problem?
According to the CDC, more than a thousand people are injured in wrecks every day that involve a distracted driver. Drivers are 23.2 times more likely to crash with distractions. As many as nine of these people die each day. Over 3,400 people were killed in distracted driving accidents in 2015. Not all of these drivers are teenagers.
Parents are frequently just as guilty as teens of not being able to resist the sound of an incoming text message or phone call. In a recent poll, more than half of parents surveyed admitted to answering texts while driving. What’s worse is that when a parent picks up their phone to respond while driving, children and teens are watching.
While many parents admit to reaching for their phone while driving, it’s important to keep in mind that your kids are in the car. Not only are they watching your behavior, but they are at risk of being in a wreck caused by a split-second bad decision.
Most of what distracts you while driving can wait. You don’t have to answer the phone the minute it rings. You can pull off the road to program the GPS or tune the radio. The best thing you can do while driving is stay completely focused on the road. There are even apps to help both parents and teens avoid distractions while driving.
So, do you feel like you are sometimes distracted while driving? Unfortunately, you’re not alone.
This article was submitted to Oakland County Moms on behalf of Michigan Auto Law.