Distracted Driving: Causes and Prevention—It’s Not Just Your Cellphone

Distracted Driving: Causes and Prevention—It’s Not Just Your Cellphone

Thank you for valuable information.
Eric Lang
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the only thing I have in the Nissan is a linking unit between my car and cell phone. It turns on when a call comes in on the cell phone without any action on my part (ie turning on a switch, switching between in and out conversations etc.) therefore not requiring the need to take my eyes off the road. It would be no more distracting than having a passenger in the car with me. I fail to see how this increases the rate of my insurance to the extent that it has this year.
Bob
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This should not promote red-light cameras or any other type for for-profit ticket camera, which relies upon poor traffic engineering and predatory ticketing. RLC’s led to more crashes in many places.
With red-light cameras, cities should immediately discontinue their usage. In many areas, when the light is too short, people are cited a split-second after it changes, for stopping over the stop line, or a non-complete stop for a right-on-red turn. Who can defend this setup? The short yellows alone are a major problem, which yield most of the “violations.” Federal data also shows that non-complete stops for right turns almost never cause a crash, yet are the bulk of the tickets.
All you need are speed limits set to the 85th percentile free-flowing traffic speed, longer yellows, decent length all-red intervals, and sensors to keep an all-red if someone enters late. No crashes! Can also sync lights and use sensors to change them and know where cars are.
Check out the National Motorists Association.
Extra Mile Staff
Thank you for continuing to keep us safe while driving.
Josephia
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Driving is a full time job. I even leave the radio OFF most of the time. In order for me to turn it on, I have to be on a free flowing roadway. We run video systems in our cars. Reviewing those videos at times can find bad habits. That makes it possible to correct them. We also point out problems to each other when we see an issue in the other persons driving. As for RLC’s, I somewhat disagree with the Bob’s comment on them. They do improve things. If you do not want to be taxed, then stop behind the white line! If you pass that white line in the left lane and I hit you while making a left turn from your right. Guess what, I have proof you were in the intersection which makes you at fault! On another note, I agree that some lights have too short signals. That video system we have, has a clock. That video can be replayed proving the light is too short if I notice the flash. That is when I call it a money making RLC and it has to go! There does need to be a traffic court for these camera systems. Bottom line, I see things slowly getting better. But one observation is that the smarter the cars get, it seems the drivers get even dumber. Do not count on technology to replace common sense. It is an added feature to the car that has the best safety device: a good driver with good attention and reflexes! Many a time, my attentiveness has bailed me out from someone else’s stupid/careless mistakes. The ones I can not escape is when they block me in with no place to avoid. Knock on wood, no speeding cameras or RLC’s have hit me either. Maybe I behave plenty. “Only the camera knows.”
Extra Mile Staff
| April 11, 2019 at 3:14 pm
Thanks for sharing your driving experience! This can be heplful to those that read the article.
Thomas K. Geydan
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I fully agree with all your points and safety tips about responsible and undistracted driving. I often apologize to my passengers (I have very few), saying: “sorry, but I cannot look at you because I need to be fully aware about everything that is going on in front of me”. They understand that, and, hearing this from me, they often even cut their questions and/or comment short!
Thank you very much!
Pet lovers who still drive with pets between themselves and the steering wheel.
Josephine
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I NEVER use my cell phone while driving. If I need directions or need to inform someone that I’ll be late, I pull over, park, and then call. My cell phone is turned off and in my purse if my car is moving. I rarely have more than one other person in the car with me, but when I do, I let them entertain each other. I don’t depend on lots of modern technology for my driving (GPS, Siri, Navistar). My only fault was eating – which, after one or two ketchup or mayo-laden chunks of lettuce dropping onto my lap, was cured by (once again) pulling over, parking, and eating without mishap. Of course, I’m older, so I don’t have the same distractions that someone younger might have.
Extra Mile Staff
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Great information everyone should read. I cannot believe today’s drivers–inconsiderate, inattentive (usually on phone) total disregard for speed limits and rudeness. All of us need to be considerate of others on the road, we aren’t the only drivers out there!.
Jerry
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Thanx. I teach an AARP Safe Driving class and must offer some additional distractions to safe driving – i.e. effects of medicine and alcohol, droziness, weather conditions, anger[the fight you had before hitting the road] or anything that takes your attention away from the multi-tasking of safe driving. WATCH OUT FOR THE OTHER DRIVERS, TOO!
Extra Mile Staff
| April 11, 2019 at 5:40 pm
Thanks for sharing these additional tips, Jerry! To view more information on signing up for an AARP Safe Driving class, click here .
Gary Carlson
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If you don’t have one already, consider purchasing a speaking GPS paired with a backup camera. That way, you won’t get nervous (jeopardizing your driving safety) as you get close to an unfamiliar destination. Let your GPS do the dirty work of recalculating and redirecting you if you accidentally drive past your unfamiliar destination. That way, you remain calm, and hence, more alert.
Although it’s always good judgment to use your mirrors, a backup camera (paired to your GPS) can make you much more cognizant (and consequently, much less nervous) about whom (or what) is behind you while backing up (especially in a crowded parking lot at a large shopping mall where your mirrors don’t help too much). Therefore, you remain calmer and reduce the chance of hitting a person, vehicle, or other items as you back up.
Extra Mile Staff
Hard breaking would involve spinning on your back without the luxury of cardboard. You want hard braking.
Cliff Weil
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Before taking the AARP driving course, I had a problem with drowsy driving. Now I constantly keep my eyes moving. As I scan across the road I glance at my rear view mirror to keep track of the vehicles approaching from behind me. When looking to the right, I try to locate the next mile post (when on an interstate highway) and make a note of one when I can read it so I know where I am in case I need assistance. As I scan to the left I will watch any vehicle trying to pass me being ready to react if one drifts towards me. In short, keeping track of what’s behind me, what’s ahead of me and where I am prevents me from getting sleepy.
Extra Mile Staff
| April 12, 2019 at 7:03 pm
Cliff- we are glad you liked the driving course and found how beneficial it is. Thank you for reading!
Gerald Brocato
Thanks. A very helpful topic and one that will benefit all drivers.
bonnie hutchinson
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I am a retired school bus driver of 35 years! I have taken all the courses I can and still do. They help me to keep updated to the new road round about in our area. Nothing can help the inconsiterate people who are so rude. I have always tried to not drive if I don’t feel well so I would like to add, being sick is a good reason for not driving just to get out of your house! Your yard is a much safer spot for you and others! I agree with all the things others have said. Thanks for the tips, keep them coming, I am not getting any younger!
Extra Mile Staff
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Thanks for the helpful info. Lifesaver & DriveMode sound like really good apps for some drivers who don’t have the will power to ignore cell phones! I have 2 more items to address though. I will be difficult for some drivers to give up driving. I have a dear friend who I will not get into the car with unless I drive her car. She doesn’t even like driving so it is easy to take over. I do worry when I am not with her as she is about 4’5″ tall if that and I don’t even think she can see the road with her pillow under her. I have talked to her sons that maybe it is time to take the car away but they won’t do that. I have told my own sons that if they see me driving unsafe to let me know if I need to stop driving. I am a retired deputy sheriff and one of my sons is an active deputy sheriff so I know he would let know. The other thing is put your animals in a dog seat that secures with a seatbelt so they don’t go flying around in your car in you have to stop too fast or involved in a wreck. Last week there was a wreck just across the street and in the confusion the drivers dog ran from the car after the wreck. He was devastated! It took several people almost a week to locate the dog as he had ran so far from the wreck. Secure your babies! P.S. The dog was ok just hungry & dirty.
Extra Mile Staff
| April 15, 2019 at 8:09 pm
Thanks for sharing this story Martha, it will be helpful for others when they evaluate whether it is time to stop driving.
Rodney
most all this stuff is a no brainier, it’s nice keep sending out the info hopefully people will use this in their driving to improve their habits.
Susan Watts
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I am retired and don’t drive much! My car always is parked inside in my garage! I am looking to reduce my car insurance that I have. I don’t have any car accidents or tickets for a long time! I think it’s ridiculous for an old lady to pay lots of money for my car insurance! I did ask for auto safety classes but they never called me back because I am deaf and ask for ASL interpreter!! I feel that no one helps me to reduce the premium on my car insurance. I am an AARP member.
Extra Mile Staff
An angry spouse or significant other is probably the most dangerous distraction. I wonder how many drivers have been driven over the edge by somebody who just won’t shut up?
Sidney
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The electronic controls that come with many newer vehicles REQUIRE that you look at them to make any adjustments. NOTHING, not even cell phones, have ever been as great a distraction problem for me as these are. This became even more obvious to me when my car was in the shop and I had a rental with the older style manual controls. I wasn’t even familiar with the vehicle but immediately found it significantly less distracting.
Cate
| April 22, 2021 at 10:32 am
Sidney, I have turned off quite a few of these features in my 2020 car for the very reason you mentioned. I also find the small size of print in the car displays extremely dangerous.
Norma Ray
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When I was younger I was always on the go with my job. Not wanting to stop for lunch , I would sometimes grab a fast food lunch and try to eat while driving. Then I would have to have a cigarette. We didn’t have cell phones then or GPS . That was probably more dangerous for me because I was one of those people that was always running late, putting on make-up in the truck while having my morning coffee and trying to read a map. Brushing my hair, radio blasting, It’s a wonder that Im not dead. Did I mention that was a 5 speed transmission? I got away with it but karma caught up with me. Going home from work one Friday evening. Just got my check , all I was wanting to do was cash it get something to eat and relax in front of the TV. Traffic was moderate on the east bound freeway running through Dallas/ Fort Worth , the Sun was about to set and I was not driving towards it. however a flash of bright light suddenly hit me in the eyes. It was the kind that causes those lingering abalone color swirls around your face. Just as I re adjusted my vision, I saw a large object right in front of me that felt like a giant magnet. POW! My truck slammed right into the back of a Church Bus. The airbags deployed but I remember thinking the truck was on fire because of the smoke and smell . I had to get out. but I was in the middle of the Freeway. I wondered if I was I ok and would I be able to get out . I didn’t feel any pain anywhere. Just then I looked up and a man was standing at my door asking me the same thing. But why was he apologizing? I couldn’t understand what he was saying but he helped me out and walked me to the side of the road. I could hear a siren and a Policeman was there rather quickly.. As he walked up to me he was asking what happened and was I driving to close to the Bus. I said “No Sir, I was actually quite a ways back” Just then ,he put his hand over his eyes and say “Wow that is bright!”
I suddenly remembered “That’s’ exactly what happened to me!” I said
The Bus was one of those travel type Vans that had double doors on the back with a large Magnifying window on one side. I never knew what the purpose of that was but that was what caught the sunlight and reflected it back in my face at the exact moment there was an 18 wheeler in front of the Bus that hit his breaks to avoid a car that veered in front of him without bothering to signal or check their mirror first looking . This caused the Bus Driver to hit his breaks just as I was blinded.. I was un aware of any of that taking place until I heard The Bus Driver explaining it to the Officer. I looked over at my truck and I was demolished. The entire front looked like a scrap heap but I didn’t have a scratch on me. In the old days, I would have died from a collision like that in my old truck. You see , I has just bought that new truck one month earlier. With all the modern safety features.
I said a silent prayer and promised myself that those crazy days were over. I stopped smoking, It’s too messy to eat while driving, Google does my navigating and all my family and friends know that if I don’t answer my phone, I’m driving.
Extra Mile Staff
| April 15, 2019 at 8:22 pm
Thank you for sharing this story, Norma. It can help others stop some of their habits while driving as well.
Norma Ray
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Sorry Bob , but you are wrong. To avoid a ticket , just drive correctly and stop trying to blame it on the cameras. Our Police Force was understaffed for a while. People were taking advantage of that . Without cameras they didn’t bother with traffic lights and just zoomed right through the lights no matter what color they were. Many pedestrians lost their lives due to this. It’s sad but Humans cannot adapt to an honor system. They need to be monitored. It’s not predatory. It’s called “Safety”
Chris Harris
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It is cell phones and texting…period. The other named situations probably make up less than 1% of accidents.
40,800 people died on the roads last year: principal cause: texting. Meaning anything related to a phone: actual texting, social media, maps, games—National Highway commission says average person spends 4.6 seconds texting—not looking at the road for 4.6 sec; at 60 mph distance covered is 4.6 x 88 feet
So lets not sugarcoat this issue text in all its aspects is the number one threat and killer on the road?
Chris
I have been practicing all of the things you just said for yearsBut you are hundred percent correct on each thing you said
Extra Mile Staff
| April 22, 2019 at 5:12 pm
It’s great to hear that you are already practicing safe driving. Thank you for sharing; spread the word!
Bonnie King
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Out of nine-I talk to passengers but they are all warned I may not be listening or answering as i need to pay attention to my driving. Eating only very early morning no traffic at all where i’m driving, sandwich with no chance of dripping or crumbling. The first talking probably won’t change, 2nd eating I Think I’ed better cut that out completely. When I think clearly about it no traffic it does not mean do dogs, deer or who knows what?
Extra Mile Staff