Our health is effected by every aspect of life; home-life, work-life, food, physical activity, and relationships.  But one area that we don’t often think about is driving.

Driving has become so common that most think of it as an afterthought.  We think about where we need to be and when, not how we will get there.  Safe driving practices have always been a priority but recently, there is a growing movement to decrease distracted driving.

The major culprit of distraction is cell-phone use, despite it being illegal in 46 states.

Cell phones have it all.  We can talk, text, check emails, surf the web, scroll through our mobile apps, listen to music, check the weather, check the stock market, snap-chat our friends, and jot down that thought.  We might think we are able to multi-task, but studies have already proven that it is impossible to multi-task, especially with activities that demand focus.

We also might think we are quick when we check our phone on the road.  But that’s not the case either.  ‘Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed’.

The Dangers of Distracted Driving

Researcher David Strayer of the University of Utah found that talking on a cell phone quadruples your risk of an accident, similar to the risk of driving drunk.  That risk doubles again, to eight times normal, if you are texting.

The Root of the Problem

Recent findings have shed light on why distracted driving isn’t seeing any change.  Surveys find that adults ‘recognize that other drivers are behaving irresponsibly, but they find excuses for their own risky driving behavior’.

Our Role on the Road

When you don’t drive distracted, you better your chances of keeping yourself and everyone else on the road safe.  The National Safety Council says that ‘at least 28 percent of vehicle crashes are caused by texting and cell phone use alone’.  So just like we have to form health habits with our food, exercise, and sleep, we also need to create healthy habits when we drive.  Keep the phone in the back seat, in the glove box, or anywhere out of sight.  Make it a goal to not look at the phone until you reach your destination.  If you are tempted, turn off your phone’s notifications while you drive.

Find out more about Distracted Driving here.