In October 2017, a Consumer Reports survey of drivers and their habits behind the wheel revealed that 52 percent of motorists admitted to engaging in distracting activities while driving.
Forty-one percent said they had used their hands to text while driving, while eight percent admitted to watching videos on their phones while behind the wheel.
In 2016, a total of 3,450 people were killed because of distracted driving, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Why distracted driving is so dangerous
We’ve all witnessed distracted driving, regardless of where in Macon-Bibb County we are traveling. Most of us fear that the numbers don’t fully reflect the real dangers of distraction. Until autonomous vehicles are fully put on the market, motorists will continue to be impacted by distracted driving.
“Unfortunately, in the short term, we actually could see greater risks because we will have a mix of autonomous, semi-autonomous, and manually driven cars,’’ said Deborah Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council, in the Consumer Reports article. Hersman continued, “The transition is going to be a little bit of a messy middle.’’
That situation is already underway, according to Consumer Reports, which notes:
- 37 percent of those interviewed used their hands to find music on a smart phone.
- 20 percent used their hands to access a web browser or to compose, send, or read an e-mail.
Being road safe
Jennifer Stockburger, director of operations at Consumer Reports Auto Test Center, has suggestions to keep you, family and others safe while behind the wheel.
- Once in the car, put your phone out of sight and out of reach, so you’re not tempted to use it. If you need to use a navigation app, use a dash-mount so you don’t have to take your hands off the wheel.
- Drop the ear buds.
- If you must regularly answer phone calls, invest in a Bluetooth system. You can stay hands-free and keep your ears open.
- Watch for erratic or inappropriate driving, and do your best to keep your distance.
- Be aware of any driver whose head is facing down toward his lap, or seat.
- Also watch out for any car that’s veering from edge to edge inside a lane.
- Keep an eye out for anyone missing traffic cues including failing to accelerate when a light turns green.
- Lastly, be cautious of vehicles that slow and speed up erratically, or ride the brakes.
Should you be the victim of an accident caused by a distracted driver, never try to handle your claim without the advice of an experienced Macon auto accident attorney.