You’re cruising along the freeway at 60 mph and you can’t stand that stupid song on the radio another second. The A/C is too high. Your kid is throwing crumbs at the baby. Your phone rings.
Any of these things can distract you while you’re driving. You think you need to look away from the road for just a quick second, and bam. It’s like you’ve just gone a block and half while staring at the clouds.
When we think of distracted driving, the first thing that comes to mind is a teen with a cell phone sending just that one little text, but anything that takes your eyes and your mind off the road is a distraction, and it’s super dangerous.
It’s dangerous not just for you and everyone in your car, it’s also a threat to everyone around you—every school bus full of children, everyone out for a walk, every cyclist who decides to cut that turn a little fast. There’s no way of knowing the risks that can suddenly present themselves, and if you’re not paying attention to the road, you can’t prevent an accident.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2015 there were 3,477 traffic fatalities and 391,000 injuries as a result of distracted driving. They estimate that 660,000 people use electronic devices while driving. While stricter laws about texting or talking on the phone in your car are appearing in every state, increasing awareness about distracted driving is the most effective way to keep our roads safe.
April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and thanks to initiatives like AT&T’s It Can Wait, people are becoming more and more aware of the dangers of distracted driving. Most people have at least heard about the risks, but high-profile, far-reaching campaigns like these are really starting to hit home.
Making a change is possible just by getting more people to change their behavior. Since the 1980s, accidents involving drunk drivers have been cut in half due to the awareness-raising efforts of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, among others. This means we CAN change things.
You’re speeding along in a two-ton machine, and you have a responsibility to yourself others. So put your phone down, leave the A/C alone for now, and when you arrive safely at your destination, take the pledge. There’s nothing that can’t wait while you’re driving your car.