Have you ever lost a loved one in life because of a road accident? If not this then in your lifetime you might have experienced or seen at least one road accident. Do you ever sit and wonder what might have caused the accident? Was it a malfunction in the car or was it the driver’s fault? Or something quite simple like checking the messages on phone might have caused the car to slip out of control!

You might think these questions don’t hold a lot of weight but, actually, they do. Even if you drive an auto-pilot car it is still extremely important you keep your eyes and attention on the road.  Don’t let your focus get distracted by anything even if it is an incoming message on your phone. According to Transport Canada, in 2015, the number of motor vehicle fatalities reached 1,858 in Canada while total injuries were 161,902.

Types of Distractions while driving

There are mainly three types of distractions involved while driving:

Manual distraction

Manual distraction means you take your hands off from the steering wheel for any reason. Hence, your ability to steer the car efficiently is affected.

Visual distraction

Visual distraction happens more often and it involves moving your gaze from the road to your phone or GPS, for example.

Cognitive distraction

Cognitive distraction is a thought or a plan or a daydream that mentally disturbs you and takes your attention off the road. 

All of the above distractions while driving can have serious consequences. Struggling to handle a device or sketch a plan does not seem to be a big deal. But it can have drastic impacts on your driving efficiency.

How Distraction Happens While Driving

Cell phones are the major source of distraction for drivers. In Canada, almost 26 percent of all car crashes are caused by cell phones (this includes hands-free phones as well) and a total of 1.6 million vehicle crashes annually are caused because of drivers involved in using cell phones according to CAA.

It might not seem like a big deal to you while you’re in the moment, you might think  ‘it’s fine it’ll just take me two seconds to reply” but within the period of these two seconds, a lot can happen.

Other examples of driving distractions cover a wide range of possibilities like:

  • Adjusting the radio
  • Monitoring loud or active kids
  • Eating or drinking
  • Talking or texting on cellphones
  • Driving under the influence
  • Inputting information into a GPS

How to avoid accidents and near-misses due to distractions?

To avoid accidents and other misfortunes here’s what you need to do:

  • Keep your cellphone and all other electronic devices on silent or airplane mode: Yes, you might get an important call but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
  • Install hands-free services: This means using Bluetooth, headphones, or GPS which is voice modified.  Through this, you can easily avoid getting distracted while putting in the location or merely just changing songs.
  • Keep your mind free: What this means is fulfilling everything you have to do beforehand so while driving you don’t start thinking and get distracted.
  • Educate your family: It is important to teach your family, especially your kids regarding all the necessary driving precautions.  Even if you are driving they should know not to disturb you and keep decorum.
  • Take your meals on time: Another precaution that most people seem to let go of is eating. Eating while driving can prove to be extremely dangerous so eat well in advance to avoid eating food or even snacking while driving. Consequences of Distracted Driving

Distracted driving can be extremely dangerous and highly risky and can also result in accidents with effects ranging from minor vehicle damage to devastating injuries of either the passengers in the vehicle or pedestrians. In addition to this, not solely focusing on driving means putting the lives around you in danger. Thus, it’s considered a crime and can even result in heavy fines and long jail terms depending upon the situation.

Even though, getting distracted by stuff around you is normal but being distracted while driving is unpardonable. Apart from risking the lives of others around you, it can also put a heavy strain on your insurance and your wallet. Let’s say you accidentally drove into someone’s car while using your cellphone. Now you have to bear the expenses of getting their car fixed so think twice before focusing on something other than driving.

It only takes a split second of distraction to create a lifetime of pain and suffering for yourself and others around you. Remember, driving is a privilege, and your decisions do not affect only you but other people on the road, too. So educate yourself to prevent getting in unfortunate scenarios. Knowing what is likely to distract you when you’re behind the wheel and what can you do to prevent it will help ensure that you keep your focus on the road and avoid disastrous accidents.

Everybody who hasn’t experienced the trauma caused by a car crash cannot relate to the terrible feeling it causes and its consequences. You might think you’re safe from this until one day – because of your carelessness and a split second of distraction – it happens. Therefore, stay safe, focused, and always remember ‘better safe than sorry’.

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