Summertime usually means road trips, and road trips mean driving. While driving, it is important to be aware of the potential distractions that may come your way. Distractions are the leading cause of most vehicle crashes and near-crashes. According to a study released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI), 80 percent of crashes and 65 percent of near-crashes involve some form of driver distraction. The distraction occurred within three seconds before the vehicle crash.
Driving is a skill that requires your full attention to safely control your vehicle and respond to events happening on the roads around you. Driving involves constant and complex coordination between your mind and body. Activities that prevent you from operating your car safely are distractions.
There are three types of distractions:
When you think about the actions you make in your vehicle, other than just driving, you can see that they often involve more than one type of distraction. For instance, if you change your radio station or put information into your GPS, you take a hand off the steering wheel to press buttons, and take your eyes off the road to look at what buttons you want to press. And don’t forget the challenges that eating, cell phone use, and child activity or pet control, can present.
So while you are heading to the shore or perhaps the mountains, remember to keep your eyes on the road, your hands on the wheel and your brain engaged in the act of driving. It's one way to ensure that you and your family will enjoy that summertime activity.
- Visual - taking your eyes off the road
- Cognitive -your mind is not focused on the driving task at hand
- Manual - when your hands are off the steering wheel.
For additional injury prevention information, visit the Paoli Hospital Trauma Center website.