If you know how to drive a car, you would know that it requires full alertness and attention to not only negotiate in the traffic, but also lookout for pedestrians or wrongly driven vehicles to avoid accidents.
However, distracted driving is a common occurrence and almost every driver is guilty of it. Such driving is a recipe for disaster and needs to be avoided by all. If you know how small distractions can lead to accidents, you will be more careful in preventing them.
There can be many reasons for distracted driving. Let us see what they are:
- Multitasking while driving: People with small kids may vouch for it. Kids throwing a tantrum in the car or fighting with other kids in the back seat may cause the driver to divert his or her attention towards them. This takes their attention away from the road and may end up in an accident.
- Eating or drinking while driving: Many people are in the habit of eating and drinking while driving, just to save on time. Although this practice is considered not too dangerous, but accidents do happen in split seconds. Focusing on what you are eating or drinking or shifting food from hand to hand or spilling hot beverage on your lap may result in accident.
- Fiddling with radio or music system while driving: It is fun to listen to music while travelling, since it takes off the strain of driving. However, many a times you take off your eyes from the road just to change the channel or the music CD, thereby leaving yourself open to accidents.
- Focusing on GPS or Google Maps: It is common to feed the destination in your smart phones and listen to the directions being prompted. However, at times you have to take your eyes off the road to confirm a turn or a landmark shown on the screen. This distraction may prove costly.
- Driving under influence: This is a no-brainer. If you are in the habit of driving while inebriated or are taking drugs, you will certainly meet with an accident sometime. Such intoxicants impair judgement and numb the reflexes while instilling overconfidence.
Using cell phone while driving
The latest form of distracted driving that is becoming increasingly more popular and dangerous is using cell phone while on the wheel. Sample this, in January 2004, a 20-year-old woman talking on the cell phone while driving, ran a red light and slammed right into the side of a car that was crossing on green light. So engrossed was this woman in her cell phone conversation that she did not even touch the brakes or slow down and rammed that car at 48 mph. This distracted driving took the life of a 12-year-old.
What the witnesses told the investigators was even more baffling. This woman was not looking down or dialing or texting, she was looking straight and talking on her cell phone, while speeding and jumping the red light. This is what researchers now call inattention blindness caused by cognitive distraction of a cell phone conversation.
Why cell phone conversation is dangerous?
When you are driving and conversing on the cell phone at the same time, your brain is divided and is incapable of handling both at the same time. It is the same as reading a book and having a telephonic conversation. This often results in delayed braking or missing traffic signals, ending in a crash.
Although there are many reasons for distracted driving, but the latest one to join the list is cell phone usage. It should be clear to one and all that there is no safe way to use a cell phone and drive.