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Distracted driving continues to be deadly

Improvements in technology have made life easier for owners of everything from smartphones to motor vehicles. However, those innovations have come at a cost. While some use technology responsibly, overuse by others can have catastrophic consequences.

Every day in the United States, eight people die due to distracted drivers. A disproportionate number fall into the younger demographic. Distracted drivers in their 20s who die in collisions account for 25 percent of accidents. Teen drivers are more likely to be involved in any type of distracted driving accident.

The simple act of taking eyes off the road or hands off the wheel distracts from the “task at hand” and leads to severe, if not deadly, collisions.

Possible solutions to deadly distractions

Human Factors published an article covering a 2018 “systemic review” that revealed the slightest of distractions could lead to tragic outcomes. A total of 93 studies involved 4,300 participants. Handheld phones – particularly when dialed – and hands-free devices resulted in a deterioration of driving performance.

Even the simple act of a driver turning their head to engage in a conversation is a distraction. (The one piece of good news involved drivers in conversation on a cellphone, seeming to compensate by reducing speed and providing more distance from the vehicle in front of them.) Wandering minds also can cause drivers fail to see hazards and make mistakes.

To help maintain their focus, drivers can use slow, deep breaths to maintain their focus.

Paying attention to your surroundings while driving should not be difficult. Simple and proactive steps can mean the difference between getting to your destination or finding yourself involved in a motor vehicle accident.