It’s no secret that distracted driving has become a bigtime hazard on Colorado roads. In 2018, state officials report that distracted drivers caused about 42 accidents a day.
With the increase in distracted driving accidents, Colorado, and 48 other states, have banned texting while driving. That’s because texting while driving is the most dangerous form of distracted driving. When drivers are texting behind the wheel, they are distracted for about 5 seconds. If you are traveling 55 miles per hour and texting, your car will travel the length of a football field in those five seconds – plenty of time to cause a devastating crash.
However, texting while driving isn’t the only dangerous distracted driving behavior. Here are some other common distracted driving behaviors that can lead to a crash:
- Using your phone behind the wheel. When you have a cell phone in your hand, one hand is off your steering wheel. You are thinking about the call you are making or information you are seeking online and not the road ahead of you.
- Using hands-free technology. Yes, the purpose of hands-free technology in your vehicle is to reduce driver distractions, but you still aren’t paying 100% attention to the road and cars around you if you are using hands-free devices.
- Eating while driving. According to the National Highway Safety Administration, those who eat and drive increase their chance of an accident by 80%. It’s very easy to take your eyes off the road and hands off the wheel if you are drinking hot coffee while driving and then spill it on yourself. Or if you try to balance adding ketchup to your fries while driving down the freeway.
- Driving while angry or tired, which can cause you to lose focus on your most important task: getting to your destination safely.
- Reaching for things in your backseat, causing you to take your eyes off the road and have a hand off your steering wheel.
- Having your pets with you, especially if pet isn’t in a restraint and is sitting in your lap.
The best way to avoid a distracted driving accident is to limit your distractions as much as possible. If you need to, put your phone on Do Not Disturb and place it in your backseat. Take the extra time to eat your lunch or have your coffee before you set out for your destination. Avoid driving while tired or angry as much as you can. If you need to get something in your backseat, pull over. Secure your pet in a pet restraint or kennel when it’s in the car with you.
It’s worth taking these extra precautions to keep the roads safer for everyone, including yourself and your passengers.