According to the state department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there were almost 50,000 crashes involving distracted driving in Florida, in 2016, which is more than five crashes every hour.
When most people hear the term “distracted driving,” they think it is referring to using their phone while driving.
And while texting or even talking on the phone is dangerously distracting to someone who is driving, these are not the only activities that can distract you while your full attention should be on the road.
The Top Causes of Distracted Florida Driving
There are several causes of distracted driving, both related to our devices and not. Here are the top four causes of distracted driving.
Reaching or Reacting to a Device
The most common items reached for by another 2 percent of drivers were a GPS or headphones. Other common items may include the aux cord. Taking a hand off of the wheel can cause an accident, and it is very possible that you will have to look away from the road to find the device.
Passengers In Your Vehicle
5 percent of drivers involved in these crashes were talking to or looking at a passenger. Try not to have any distracting conversations, and never take your eyes off the road to look at someone else in your car.
Rubbernecking is when a wreck or other distraction is happening outside of the vehicle, and the driver turns their head to watch the drama. 7 percent of the accidents were caused by this. It can be tempting to to watch, but avoiding watching the cleanup after a wreck can keep you from having a wreck of your own.
Using your cell phone while driving is incredibly dangerous. Drivers using their cell phone for talking or texting accounted for 12 percent of the distracted drivers. Texting is the number one worst way to use your cell phone while driving, which is why many states have passed laws making it illegal.
Keep in mind that we use out mobile devices for much more than texting, so this includes driving and Instagramming, or Facebook, or emailing, etc.
How To Stop The Distractions
Make a habit of thinking about what calls or texts you need to send before you begin your trip. Before you start the car, take a moment to think about what information you might need during the trip.
For instance, program your GPS at the outset, rather than fiddling with it during the drive. Make that call to ask your mom a question before you’re on the road. Text your friend that vital piece of gossip, then put away the phone.
Apple’s iPhone comes with a new Do Not Disturb while driving feature that you can turn on. This feature will not notify you to alerts and notifications while driving, and can even be setup to send out a pre-written response to text messages.
There’s also an option that allows certain callers in your contact list to get through and notify you by calling twice during your drive. This way you don’t have to worry that you’re going to miss an emergency call, but can still be safe while driving.
Android phones have multiple apps, including SafeDrive that can be downloaded from the Google Play Store.
Distracted driving is dangerous, and causes serious accident injuries to Florida drivers. Stay safe out there, and keep your focus on the road while driving.