Next time you walk down the road in North Carolina, take a moment to look at the drivers passing you and see if you can spot any using phones, putting on makeup or otherwise engaging in distracted driving-related behaviors. Chances are, you will spot more than a few motorists who are not paying close attention to the task at hand because distracted driving continues to be a growing problem across the state and around the nation.
Just how severe is North Carolina’s distracted driving problem?
Fatalities related to distracted driving
Last year, 32 people lost their lives in distracted driving-related crashes on North Carolina roadways, while many more suffered serious injuries in such accidents. The problem appears to be even more serious for North Carolina’s southern neighbor, with 60 people losing their lives on South Carolina roads in 2017 alone.
Common driver distractions
While texting and emailing behind the wheel are some of the most common and high-profile causes of driver distraction, electronic communications are not the only elements distracting today’s drivers and diverting their attention. Many drivers admit to surfing the web while in the car, which might include watching videos and reading articles, while others use navigational devices to help them find their way around.
Using in-dash navigation systems or GPS units while driving can prove tremendously dangerous, however, because doing so involves all three types of driver distraction: cognitive, manual and visual. Using any type of in-vehicle technology is highly dangerous because it has the capacity to divert a driver’s attention away from the road for more than 40 seconds.
Reducing your risk
There are steps you can take to avoid contributing to the distracted driving problem, such as locking your phone in your glove box while you drive or having one of your passengers respond to texts or emails on your behalf. However, there is only so much you can do to protect yourself when others drive negligently.