Noun – driving a vehicle while engaging in an activity that has the potential to distract the driver from the task of driving.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving was the cause of roughly 424,000 accident-related injuries and some 3,150 fatalities in 2013 alone. Because this data comes from police reports, which may not record all driving distractions, the true figure is likely to be higher.
There are many types of distracted driving, we will cover the ones that matter to us. Cognitive or mental distraction is when a driver’s mind isn’t focused on driving. Talking to another passenger or being preoccupied with a personal, family, or work-related issue are some examples.
There is also the visual distraction that occurs when a driver is looking at anything but the road ahead. Drivers who check the electronic devices, such as GPS devices and the entertainment systems. And let us not forget the texts on the phone.
Manual distraction is when the driver takes one or both hands off the wheel or handle bars for any reason. Some common examples include eating and drinking, adjusting the GPS, or trying to get something from a purse, wallet, or saddle bag. And let us not forget the worse offense texting. I have seen this happen while people are riding.
I can give you some advice on how to avoid common distractions. Turn off the phone. You are not that important to die for. Do not think that a hands free phone is the answer. Because studies have shown that hands free devices prove just as distracting as a normal cell phone.
Eat before or after you start your ride. Do not think that you can ride, drink and snack at the same time. Get the radio channel that you want before you move. And set your GPS, if you need to adjust it pull over and stop.
If you need to put something in your saddle bag do it before the ride. The same goes for taking things out of your saddle bag or wallet.
Everyone know it is tempting to answer that email or reprogram that GPS which just rebooted itself for the tenth time. But if you are able to resist the temptation and focus on the road ahead, you will be able to react to the unexpected and maybe even avoid an accident.
Stay alert and safe driving to you.
Dennis Murphy – Chapter Educator