Drivers are prone to distractions like phone use, glancing at a map, or singing their favorite song. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving claimed 2,841 lives in 2018. How many accidents are caused by distracted driving each year? The CDC estimates 400,000 injuries.

Prevention begins with awareness. Here are the top 9 distracted driving mistakes to implement safe driving behavior.

What is Distracted Driving?

The NHTSA defines it as “any activity that diverts attention from driving to focus on another activity.” The brain shifts its focus during these times. Carnegie Mellon University’s Center for Cognitive Brain Imaging ran a simulation of individuals who listened and responded to sentences.

The activity in the brain for space and movement decreased as they listened and increased in the area for language. What are the dangers of distracted driving?

Let’s take a look at the mistakes to avoid.

Mistakes to Avoid

What are the three main categories of distracted driving? According to the CDC, they are:

  • Cognitive distractions take one’s mind off driving.
  • Visual distractions remove the driver’s eyes away from the road.
  • Manual distractions cause a driver to take their hands off the wheel.

Which is the most dangerous kind of distracted driving? Coming in first on the list is, you guessed it, cell phone usage.

Let’s dive into the list below.

1. Cell Phone Usage

What is the biggest distraction while driving? Cell phone usage is the number one unsafe driving behavior. The NHTSA’s distracted driving statistics reports that 13% of crashes from 2014 to 2018 were related to cell phone use. About 390,000 injuries per year are from accidents caused by texting and driving, so you can see why it’s essential to learn tips to avoid texting and driving.

To prevent these accidents and deaths, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Kentucky, and Louisiana ban texting and driving. A complete cellphone ban is mandated in other states, based on the driver type.

2. Speeding 

Drivers end up speeding when they get angry or in a rush and in 2018, 9,378 were killed from speeding. The danger of texting and driving while speeding is it also makes drivers veer off track during bad weather conditions like snow and rain.

3. Multitasking

Multitasking is another example of cognitive distracted driving. Multitasking while driving means doing anything else while driving, such as eating or drinking, using a phone app, or adjusting the radio or navigation system. While driving, resist multitasking such as doing one’s hair or makeup or reaching for an object on the floor or at the back of the vehicle

4. Other Passenger Activity 

Interaction with other passengers made up 53.2% of the observed distractions from this 2014 Traffic Injury Prevention journal article. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reports that passengers are among the causes. Adult passengers should avoid being among the examples of distracted driving.

5. Drowsiness

Drowsy driving is the cause behind 5,000 deaths in 2015. Driving after being awake for more than 20 hours is the equivalent of driving with the U.S’ legal limit for alcohol concentration. Seven or more hours of sleep is still the best solution.

6. Not paying attention to other drivers

Safety on the road also depends on a driver’s reaction to other motorists. If drivers are not paying attention to the vehicles around them, then they cannot predict or react to others behavior

7. Rubbernecking 

Rubbernecking is the most common visual distracted driving mistake. It constitutes 10 to 16 percent of car accidents. Drivers tend to rubberneck or look away when there is a car accident. Drivers also slow down traffic.

8. Daydreaming 

The Erie Insurance Group reports 61% of drivers daydream. This tendency can be prevented with regular defensive driving seminars or with an advanced dash cam technology implemented. Drivers will be reminded to focus on the road and the vehicles around them with these distracted driving awareness tips. Remember, a good driver will concentrate.

9. Failing to maintain vehicle

Vehicle maintenance prevents accidents and helps promote defensive driving. Drivers and their fleet companies should invest in regular maintenance of tires, brakes, and axles.

Tips on How to Reduce Distracted Driving Mistakes

What actions can a driver take to avoid making these mistakes? Follow these driving awareness tips.

Remind drivers to maximize rest stops. A University of Kentucky study found that fatigue-related crashes occurred in places where rest areas were 20 miles or farther. Require drivers to include rest stops in their route. These stops are essential to their safety and health.

Reduce distractions inside the vehicle. While driving, resist distractions such as looking at your phone or glancing at the radio. Keep the cell phone out of sight and reach. No meals behind the wheel. Keep all items at the back.

Fleet safety technology is a key distracted driving solution. As time passes, drivers become more prone to losing their focus and attention. It’s harder for them to find ways on how to not be distracted.

They will require an external assistant to remind them of good behavior and safety practices. Netradyne’s technology identifies the distracted driving behavior, through the fleet dash cam,  while notifying the driver and reporting to the fleet manager.

Distracted Driving and Insurance

Does distracted driving increase insurance? Well, distracted driving mistakes impact a fleet company’s insurance premiums; at about $226 a year for tickets, according to The Zebra. With safety technology installed, fleets can expect a 2% to 3% discount for each installed feature.

So you could call this a yes. It’s one of the benefits to finding ways to avoid distracted driving.

Final Thoughts

A good driver will concentrate as much as they can on the road. But they can lose focus over time due to drowsiness and return to old habits.

Why is distracted driving important? It’s crucial to understand what mistakes to avoid in order to improve your fleet management program and improve driver safety. It’s the first step on how to prevent distracted driving on the road. Luckily, there are ways to manage distractions while driving.

How can you prevent distracted driving? Well, Netradyne’s driver safety solution technology reduces these occurrences through data gathering inside and outside the vehicle, and informs you what to do with dash cam footage. Drivers are informed of their mistakes in real-time, preventing another repeat.

Learn More About How to Correct Fleet Driver’s Behavior

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