Did you know that handheld and hands-free are both equally risky? More than 50 studies show that any form of cell phone use is unsafe while driving, but the majority of people still believe hands-free options are safe.
Driving safely depends on the frequency drivers are scanning the area around them and the reaction time required to what is going on around the car. Like drowsy driving, being distracted (visually, manually or cognitively) has a negative effect on these skills.
Drivers using mobile phones, whether handheld or hands-free, look but fail to see up to 50% of the information in their driving environment. This is called inattention blindness and it's similar to tunnel vision. It prevents drivers from effectively monitoring surroundings to identify and react to potential hazards.
Whether you have employees that are driving on the company dime or not, a safety meeting on defensive driving is always a good idea. Actions everyone can take to avoid distracted driving:
- Avoid temptations to talk or text. Turn off your cell phone or put it out of reach in the car while driving.
- Vary your driving route when possible, so routine trips that you take every day don't become so mundane.
- Keep your eyes moving ensuring you are making a full mirror sweep with your eyes every 5-6 seconds to stay alert.
- Keep a safe following distance by staying about 3-4 seconds behind the vehicle in front of you. This increases visibility and provides more reaction time.
- Clear your mind so you are not distracted by work or family pressures while driving.
- Have a plan on how to get to your location. Do not try to look up a map on your phone while driving, you should have planned your route ahead of time.
- Help others help themselves by making it a practice to never call or text someone if you know they are driving. Your decisions could ensure their safety.
- Before you hit the road learn more about the risks of drowsy driving and preventative measures you can take to reduce your likelihood of being involved in a drowsy driving collision.