Distracted Driving is a leading cause of vehicle crashes in Canada.
Distracted Driving is broadly considered to be any activity the takes hands off the wheel of the vehicle, draws eyes away from the road or simply takes the mind to another place.
What distracts us
Implied in the definition is that Distracted Driving can be several things at the same time. For example, “rubbernecking” as you pass a crash not only takes your eyes away from the road, but also distracts your mind with questions like: “What happened?” “How badly were they hurt?” “Do I know them?”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) produced a study in 2010 listing the top causes of distraction and a measure
of the increased risk of each distraction (vs. normal driving.) Here are the results:
What the numbers tell us
- The average person reads a text in about 4.6 seconds. At 55 mph, a car travels 80 feet every second. Reading a text while driving is like driving the length of a football field blindfolded)
- At any given time during daylight hours in the U.S., Canada would similar proportionally upwards of 660,000 drivers are using their phone or texting.’
- In 2012, distracted driving accounted for nine deaths and over 1,000 injuries every day.’
- According to the CDC, 7 in 10 drivers admitted to making a call while driving, and 3 in 10 admitted to texting while driving in the 30 days leading up to the study.’
Establish times during the day when the driver can pull off the road and be available for communications (whether text, email or telephone). Work out the frequency and times, based on expected needs and the job being done.
Ignore the phone
Calls cannot always be scheduled. Establish a culture where allowing callers to leave messages to be returned at the earliest convenience (i.e., when it is safe to do so) is acceptable.
Defensive driving techniques provide more time to respond to changing driving conditions.
- Pre-set temperature and radio controls.
- Clear windows of frost, ice, snow or debris before driving.
- Increase following distance. (recommend at least four seconds in normal conditions in a sedan and longer in larger vehicles or adverse conditions.)
- Understand what is occurring ahead of the vehicle. (recommend scanning at least ten seconds ahead.)
- Drive for conditions. In inclement weather, slow down and allow for increased stopping distances and poor visibility.
- Deal with distractions in a safe location, while parked.