Avoid driving distracted

Driver distractions relating to electronic technologies and mobile communication devices significantly increase crash risk.

Texting while driving involves visual, manual and cognitive distraction simultaneously. When sending or receiving a text message, a driver diverts his or her eyes from the road for approximately four to six seconds, which is equivalent to blindly driving the length of a football field at 55 mph.

In that duration of time, drivers considerably increase their crash risk by taking their eyes off the road, their hands off the wheel and their mind off the task of driving.

If you are looking at your phone and the car in front of you stops, or a deer darts out from the woods, or a child runs onto the road, you may not be able to stop.

Is that text message really that important?

Distracted driving occurs when a driver diverts his/her eyes, hands or mind away from the primary task of safely operating his/her vehicle, thus creating potential endangerment for him/her, passengers or bystanders.

A distracted driver experiences a slower reaction time, less awareness of exterior objects, roadway signs and/or traffic signals and reduced vehicle control, such as drifting into other lanes or onto the shoulder of the road. Drivers make conscious unsafe choices to engage in distracted driving.

As a flight nurse, I have seen an increased number of motor vehicle accidents resulting in catastrophic injuries and death because of “texting while driving.”

When you or a family member gets behind the wheel of the car, please put the cellphone in the trunk to avoid the temptation of answering a text.

It’s not worth taking your eyes off of the road and risking your life or the lives of others for a text message or phone call.

Robin de Koning