We have all heard multiple times how dangerous distracted driving is – but is that only limited to cell phone use? NO. If you eat and drive, drink alcohol and drive or text and drive – the answer is yes, you are contributing to the number of unsafe drivers on the road.
Distracted driving is any situation where your attention is not fully on the road ahead of you. The most common scenario we hear of is texting and driving – where one hand is off the wheel and actively participating in another task. Along with your hand being of no use to steering the vehicle, you are also looking away from the road and thinking of something else. In 2015, 3,477 people were killed and 391,000 injured by distracted drivers.
Additionally, we hear about the thousands of lives claimed by drunk driving each and every year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data, there were 9,967 people killed in drunk driving accidents in 2014. Most drunk drivers are repeat offenders meaning that they have driven under the influence close to 80 times before being caught or harming someone. So, in order to ensure safety on the road, it is the responsibility of every driver to pay attention while operating their vehicle. Every two minutes, a person gets injured in a drunk driving accident. This is an issue we are accustomed to hearing about, yet not fully committed to changing these crippling statistics.
As the driver, it is important to continually check in with yourself during a night out. If you anticipate drinking more than a drink or two with friends, arrange for a taxi to take you from place to place or ask a friend to be the designated driver for the evening. If you consume more alcohol than you expected, there should be no hesitation is ordering an Uber to drive you home – the alternative could be deadly. For those who have a harder time with alcohol judgement calls – after all, alcohol impairs decision making – places like Walmart and Amazon sell pocket-sized breathalyzers. There is no better time to be safe than sorry than while drinking.
As a passenger in a car, check in with the driver about their alcohol consumption before entering the vehicle. It is imperative to be vigilant about the circumstances you place yourself in when there is alcohol involved – it would be safer to establish a one or two drink limit with the designated driver or call an Uber.
Eating and Driving
These distracted driving fatality and injury numbers are staggeringly high, and it is unfathomable to think that even with this knowledge, we continue to do it. According to a Lytx study, in 2014 they discovered that eating while driving makes a driver 3.6 times more likely to be involved in a car accident. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that 65% of near-miss crashes are due to drivers who are eating or drinking while driving.
Although it might seem to make sense to take breakfast to-go to save time on the way to work, but the consequences of this can be deadly. Think about it- driving requires full attention and both hands on the wheel, this is impossible while eating or drinking while driving. Why risk an accident just to save five minutes in the kitchen?
What Can We do to Change These Statistics?
- Do not drink and drive – do not drive with those who have been drinking
- Whenever you or a friend is unsure if you’re are able to drive after one or two drinks, just be safe and call a cab
- Save your meals for eating at home – do not try to drink your morning coffee and eat your oatmeal in your car
- Don’t attempt to text you friend back while driving – any text can wait
- Think before you act – it is better to be safe than sorry!