Somehow we missed it when it was new, but back in September Carroll Lachnit, the features editor at Edmunds.com, wrote a great piece on distracted driving, pulling together all the facts and research and explaining both why it’s so dangerous and why banning cell phone use won’t solve the entire problem.
Even though it’s not a new article, it’s still timely. Check out the article if you want to be one of those people who actually know what they’re talking about when they speak.
Driving while distracted continues to be one of the biggest contributing factors to motor vehicle collisions in the USA. Cell phones and texting get most of the blame, but the truth is that people do all kinds of things instead of focusing on their driving. Before we had cell phones, dangerous drivers were playing with their radios instead of looking at the road, or eating, or fixing their makeup, or talking to their passengers, or reaching into the back to slap the kid who’s been kicking the back of your seat for the last umpteen miles. (…which reminds me: Happy Birthday, Dad!)
Many of us get so comfortable and confident about driving that we think we can lose focus and do other things while we’re driving. And often we get away with it safely, which just makes us more careless the next time.
So if you haven’t joined the anti-distraction bandwagon yet, let me try this one more time: when you’re operating a heavy, fast-moving metal machine among other heavy, fast-moving metal machines, pay attention to what you’re doing!
Why Distracted Driving is So Dangerous
Things happen fast on the road. When some car in front of you suddenly gives you a reason to stop, you have an average of a second and a half to put the brakes on. That’s three-quarters of a second to recognize the danger and three-quarters to move your foot to the brake pedal and push. Not much time to avoid parking your car inside some other car’s trunk.
But if you’re not paying attention to the road ahead — or if you’re following too closely, which is another common mistake driver’s make —you won’t have even that much time.
You’ll be heading toward a collision with no chance to stop your car or steer out of the situation.
The US Department of Transportation has identified three kinds of distraction that take a driver’s attention from the act of driving. And what makes texting while driving so dangerous is that it involves all three kinds of distraction at once.