In the U.S., nearly 3,000 people die every year due to distracted drivers. Another 400,000 suffer injuries in those accidents. Anything that takes your attention away from the road increases your chance of an accident.
According to the CDC, there are three main types of distractions.
Visual distractions are among the most dangerous. At 55 MPH, reading one text is the same as driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed. Texting is one of the most common visual distractions and young people and teens have a higher likelihood of texting and driving.
A manual distraction involves any activity that takes your hands from the wheel. For example, eating, fiddling with the radio or navigation system and eating can all be manual distractions. Try to keep your hands on the wheel and be prepared to react at any time.
A lot of people underestimate the impact cognitive distractions have on people. You may be looking at the road ahead, but if your mind is elsewhere, you may miss something and your reaction time may slow. A cognitive distraction is any distraction that keeps your mind off of driving. For example, if you recently had a fight and cannot stop thinking about it, you could increase your chance of an accident.
If you need help with navigation, bring along a passenger to help. He or she can keep you from actively paying more attention to getting to your destination than the road.
When it comes to distracted driving, you can prevent it through preparation beforehand.