“The numbers from the collisions are grim: Eight dead, more than 1,160 injured. Every day,” Shelly White writes in an article published by Safeco Insurance.
The cause of the collisions? Distracted driving. That’s according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).” NHTSA also reports that distracted driving accounts for 18% of crashes and 10% of fatalities, not to mention the billions of dollars in property damage, medical bills, and workplace losses due to injured employees.
I know what you’re going to say. “That doesn’t affect me, I’m a very experienced driver and I don’t text or watch television or read a book while driving.” And it is true that older drivers (I’ll assume you’re not a teenager) have far fewer accidents from distracted driving than our teens and 20 somethings. But for distracted drivers to have accidents, they have to (in most cases) hit something. And your RV presents a rather sizeable target.
Distracted driving does not just affect the distracted person. If you happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, consider the consequences of your RV being hit broadside by a ton of speeding metal. So whether or not you are the safest driver on the road, you also have to be on the alert for other drivers – the distracted masses – so that you don’t become a statistic also.
Distractions, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fall into three main categories: visual, manual and cognitive. Visual and manual distractions are easier to spot in other drivers. Watch for anyone that does not have their eyes fixed on the road ahead. These distractions could include texting (texting while driving causes nearly 1.6 million collisions each year, according to Distraction.gov.), tuning in a radio station, reaching for something in the back seat, rubbernecking, or – this has actually happened – brushing teeth or putting on makeup. If you see any of these in another driver, avoid them – slow down, change lanes, get out of the way.
Cognitive distractions include the driver being engrossed in their own thoughts, arguing with their kids in the back seat, or talking to a passenger. Complex conversations, the American Psychological Association found, can slow a driver’s response time up to 30 percent. Pay Attention on the Road – not only to your driving but to those around you. It could save your life.
Read more of Bob Difley’s posts on the Good Sam Blog, and on his Gizmos & Gadgets blog on the RV Travel network of blogs, and Ask BoondockBob in the RVTravel Saturday newsletter. Follow on Facebook and Twitter.