Every day, 9 people are killed and over 1,000 are injured due to people driving distracted. Driving distracted can look plenty of different ways. From people texting, to people eating, and drunk drivers. No matter which way you pose it, driving distracted is dangerous to every driver on the road— you included.

Driving Distracted: Accident Prevention

Types of distractions

Driving distracted comes in three major forms. Cognitive distraction is when a driver is not paying attention to the road because of their thoughts or mental impairment— an example would be driving drunk. Visual distraction occurs when a driver is looking at something other than the road— such as texting and driving. The final type, manual, happens when a driver’s hands are off the steering wheel— which could be associated with texting or eating behind the wheel.

Distraction risks

Driving distracted comes with a number of risks. Mental distractions increase the chance of making mistakes that lead to accidents. Visual ones can prevent you from seeing and reacting to changes on the road. Lastly, manual distractions prevent you from having full control of your car, which could also easily cause an accident.

Of course, it’s important to understand that you’re not the only one at risk when you’re being a distracted driver. Your passengers, other drivers, and pedestrians are at risk as well. All it takes is a few seconds of distraction for an accident to occur.

So… how can I prevent my own distracted driving?

The best way to avoid driving distracted is to avoid potential distractions before they become a problem. For example, it’s a good idea to put your phone up and away before you begin driving. If something comes up while you’re driving, pull over before you address it. Furthermore, if you plan to have a bottle of wine with dinner— plan to take an Uber or Lyft. Considering what distractions might arise before you drive might just save you from getting a ticket, a DUI, or even into an accident.

Cracking down…

There has been a large push nationally to crack down on distracted drivers, especially those that text and drive. 46 states have banned texting and driving, and have heavy penalties for those that do. Many insurance companies also provide incentives for safe drivers, such as lower monthly rates. So, not only can safe driving prevent accidents— it can actually save you money.

All drivers can take steps to avoid distracted driving. It’s important to know that when you’re driving, the road takes priority over everything else. Your phone and other distractions can wait until you’re done driving.