DRIVING TO DISTRACTION
Many of us have fallen into driving habits that take our focus away from the task of driving.
COMMON DISTRACTIONS for Drivers
Do you do any of the following while driving?
• Drink coffee • Eat a meal • Brush your hair, shave or put on make-up • Talk on a cell phone • Read • Check a map • Look back to tell your children to be quiet • Take notes • Change CDs or tapes
Driver fatigue is also a common type of distraction for drivers. How often do you drive when you’re feeling tired? Or, how often do you: • Drive at a time when you normally would be asleep? • Work long or staggered shifts? • Work long hours for 2 or more weeks at a time? • Have a pattern of irregular sleep before driving?
Driver Distractions and Driver Fatigue keep us from what should be our main focus…
HOW BIG IS THE PROBLEM?
Of all the collisions in Ontario (2001):
• 20% (47,000) were due to driver distractions
• 30% (82,250) were due to driving while fatigued Together, distractions and fatigue led to 129,250 collisions!
A CLOSER LOOK
Let’s take a closer look at two common examples of driver distractions: • Talking on the cell phone • Driving while fatigued
LIFE WITHOUT Your Cell Phone?
Can you imagine not having a cell phone?
Although they are an important part of everyday life for many, using them while driving dramatically increases your risk for having a collision.
CELL PHONE USE and DRIVING
• Researchers believe that using a cell phone while driving leads to “Inattention Blindness.” • This happens when the driver looks at an object in their driving environment but fails to “see” it because their attention is directed somewhere else - to their phone conversation. • Cell phone conversations create much higher levels of driver distraction than listening to the radio or audio books.
TALKING ON A CELL PHONE and DRIVING
• Twice as likely to miss a traffic signal.
• Four times more likely to cause a crash. • Using “hands-free” equipment also leads to inattention blindness because the phone conversation itself has been identified as the main distraction.
BEST ADVICE for Using Cell Phones
• Make it a habit to use your cell phone only when you’re parked or stopped safely on the side of the road or shoulder.
• If your phone rings while driving, have it go to voice mail and check it when you’ve stopped.
• If you have a passenger, let them make or take the call.
• Turn off your phone and keep it in a compartment that you don’t have access to while driving so you won’t be tempted to use it.
COMPANY POLICY on Cell Phones
Some companies have actually adopted policies that prohibit the use of cell phones while driving on company business.
And now for another common driving distraction…
WAKE UP Drivers!
Driving while fatigued is another key concern, especially with the large number of workplaces that operate around the clock in our society.
Driving While FATIGUED Can…
• Reduce a driver’s ability to react quickly and function properly. • Range from a momentary loss of concentration to longer lasting tiredness or sleepiness. • Lead to day dreaming and wandering over the centre line, or even off the road.
DID YOU KNOW…
Most car crashes that are due to the driver falling asleep occur between midnight and 6 a.m.
Driving while fatigued can result in serious, sometimes life-threatening consequences!
Here’s WHAT You Can Do
• Getting enough sleep before driving is the most effective way to prevent fatigue
• All other solutions, while important, are intended to deal with drivers who are already too tired to drive (i.e. pulling over to take a nap, putting rumble strips on highways, rolling down the window, etc.) … PREVENTION is the key!
If You’re TOO TIRED to Drive:
• Get a ride home from work from a family member or co-worker, take a cab or have a nap before heading home. • Don’t rely on caffeine-type drinks for more than short term relief only. If you are seriously sleep deprived, no amount of caffeine will help. • If you can help it, try not to drive during the peak drowsy times of 12 midnight to 6 a.m. • Stop to rest at least every 2 hours.
OTHER THINGS You Can Do:
• Keep vehicle temperatures cool to help you stay alert.
• Share the driving.
• Stop at a safe place and take a nap. Wait at least 10 minutes after waking up to see how alert you are. If you don’t feel any more alert, don’t drive. Find a place to sleep for an hour or for the night. • Eat a healthy diet, be physically active and manage your stress, all of which will improve your energy level.
And now for your… SELF-LEARNING QUIZ
1. What are 2 common examples of driver distractions?
2. What does “inattention blindness” mean? 3. How long should you wait after waking up from a nap before you drive somewhere?
1. What are 2 common examples of driver distractions?
Driver fatigue and talking on the cell phone while driving are two common examples of driver distractions.
2. What is “inattention blindness”?
It is a condition that occurs when the driver looks at an object in their driving environment but fails to “see” it because their attention is directed somewhere else - to their phone conversation.
3. How long should you wait after waking up from a nap before you drive somewhere?
You should wait at least 10 minutes after waking up to see how alert you are. If you don’t feel any more alert, don’t drive. Find a place to sleep for an hour or for the night.
OTHER RESOURCES on Road & Family Safety
Latest Brochures Driving Smart Playing it Safe on Roads & Trails Latest Newsletter Working Toward Wellness
Other Electronic Presentation Steering Clear of Aggressive Driving