Whether you’re driving in Bloomfield Hills, one of the surrounding communities or to destinations such as Detroit, Lake Huron or elsewhere, there is a lot to focus on when you’re behind the wheel: the movements of other vehicles, traffic signals and signs, pedestrians, bicyclists and more. Unfortunately, many Michigan drivers try to split their attention between driving and their phones.
People send and receive texts, take and make calls, check their social media, look at directions, carry on video conversations, read and send email, select music, make YouTube recordings and so on. No matter what form of phone-focused communication or entertainment they’re indulging in, these distracted drivers are raising the risk of causing a motor vehicle crash, injuries and fatalities.
There are three types of distracted driving.
- Visual: taking your eyes off of the road and traffic
- Cognitive: taking your mind off of driving
- Manual: taking your hands off of the steering wheel
Texting is the perfect storm of distractions because it’s a combination of visual, cognitive and manual distractions all rolled into one. Of course, that’s true of many other phone-centered distractions as well.
Simple step one
The first simple step to cutting down on distractions: use your phone for emergencies only. Many people simply turn their phones off when they get into a car to ensure it isn’t buzzing, ringing or otherwise signaling for attention. Others will put their phones into Drive modes readily available on both Android and iPhones that silence notifications while your vehicle is in motion.
Of course, there are other activities that take drivers’ focus off of driving. For young drivers, friends can be especially distracting. That’s why Michigan limits the number of passengers 16-year-olds can have when they’re driving.
It can be wise to limit passengers for teen drivers who are easily distracted by friends.
Three and four
Another distraction elimination: Stop eating while driving. It might seem like a great time-saver, eating while driving inevitably leads to food spills that result in visual, manual and cognitive distractions.
Finally, get your rest. Sleep deprivation is a major contributor to violent crashes involving truck drivers, adults with busy schedules and teens. Drowsy drivers have trouble concentrating and processing information. Sometimes they will even close their eyes and nod off while their vehicle is in motion.
Distracted drivers are a growing danger on Michigan’s streets, roads and highways. It’s vital to stay focused behind the wheel so that all of us can get home safe and sound.