Top Distracting activities causes accident on the road
“Driving a car is a very complex task,” says Barbara Harsha, executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association, “It requires your complete attention. All it takes is a glance away for more than two seconds and you can get into serious trouble.”
Distracted driving is defined “Any activity/action which takes a driver’s attention away from operating their vehicle. It’s a serious safety hazard you can avoid by always keeping your attention on the road, other vehicles, pedestrians and the controls in your car”
It is your legal responsibility to avoid distractions during driving. Driving is an important aspect in fatal car crashes, with as many as one in ten deaths on the road linked to driver distraction.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes three main types of distractions while driving.
Visual distractions– cause you to take your eyes off the road,
Manual distractions– cause you to take your hands off the wheel
Cognitive distractions– listening to a talk radio show and to take your mind off what you are doing.
Types of Distracting Activities during driving:
- Mobile Phone Text:
Sending or reading mobile phone texts has been identified as the most common dangerously distracting activity for drivers on Ireland’s roads. In a survey of Irish drivers carried out by Continental Tyres, mobile phone texting was cited by just over 10 percent of drivers as the number one activity that has caused the most ‘near misses’ on the road.
“It seems so common sense not to text while driving, but people are so connected to their electronic devices that they kind of forget themselves,” Harsha says.
According to research from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, texting while driving is associated with the highest risk of all cellphone-related tasks.
The research found that text messaging causes drivers to take their eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds over a six-second interval. That means at 55 miles per hour, a texting driver would travel the length of a football field without looking at the road.
- Searching Right Music:
The search for the right music was highlighted as the most common distracting activity by respondents – 73 percent said this was the most regular distracting activity they engaged in while behind the wheel.
- Smartphone Checking e-Mail:
Smartphone e-mail checking becomes more and more popular, just over 5 percent of drivers highlighted checking e-mail or the internet as a reason for a near miss. This was followed by mobile phone use – calling or texting (65 percent) and eating / drinking (44 percent).
- Women have Major role:
It is identified as more likely to be distracted by using the mobile phone – nearly 48 percent of women said phone usage is their main distracting activity behind the wheel (33 percent of men). For men, eating / drinking and searching for music were the joint most distracting activities. However, twice as many women cited smoking / lighting cigarettes as a regular distraction (14 percent versus 7 percent for men) when driving.
Tom Dennigan from Continental Tyres Ireland, said: “As a driver, paying attention to your surroundings is vital to ensure both your safety and the safety of other road users.
Despite of all the safety campaigns targeting the dangers of mobile phone usage while driving, it was shocking to see it highlighted as the main reason for a ‘near mis’ by so many drivers. We would reiterate the Road Safety Authority message to drivers, it won’t hurt you to put away the phone while you are behind the wheel but using it just might”.
- Motorcycle, Rickshaw & Donkey Cart:
In response to the question in relation to distractions from passengers or other road users, Motorcycles, Rickshaw and donkey cart were found to be the biggest distraction for drivers (60 per cent), followed by children in the car (37 per cent) and pedestrians (nearly 40 percent). Other motorists were highlighted by one in four of respondents as key sources of distraction.
Guidelines to Avoid Distracting Activities:
In addition, avoiding cell phones, the following tips can benefit you stay focused:
- Avoid eating, drinking and smoking while driving.
- Pull over if you need something from the floor, dashboard, glove compartment or another part of the car.
- Don’t engage in exploration while you drive.
- Stop your car in a safe place if you want to look around.
- Adjust climate controls, radio and other infotainment systems before you start driving or ask a front-seat passenger to support you.
- Always require passengers to keep their seat belts on and ask for their cooperation in helping you keep your attention on driving.
- Do not drive when you are upset, excited or having other strong emotions or physical symptoms which could interfere with your attention.
- Transport pets in pet carriers or have them secured safely in the rear of the car. Secure objects inside the vehicle so they do not roll around.
“By avoiding distracted driving, you will significantly reduce your risk of having an accident”
Date: February 3, 2020
Smartphone texting is linked to compromised pedestrian safety, with higher rates of ‘near misses’ and failure to look left and right before crossing a road than either listening to music or talking on the phone, indicates a pooled analysis of the available evidence.
Smartphone texting is linked to compromised pedestrian safety, with higher rates of ‘near misses’ and failure to look left and right before crossing a road than either listening to music or talking on the phone, indicates a pooled analysis of the available evidence, published online in the journal Injury Prevention.
But much of the data is experimental and beset by quality issues, making it difficult to draw firm conclusions, caution the researchers, who call for a more thorough approach to exploring the impact of distracted pedestrian behaviors on crash risk.
Worldwide, around 270,000 pedestrians die every year, accounting for around a fifth of all road traffic deaths.
‘Pedestrian distraction’ has become a recognized safety issue as more and more people use their smartphones or handheld devices while walking on the pavement and crossing roads.
To try and gauge the potential impact on road safety of hand-held/hands-free device activities, including talking on the phone, text messaging, browsing and listening to music, the researchers looked for published evidence.
From among 33 relevant studies, they pooled the data from 14 (involving 872 people) and systematically reviewed the data from another eight.
They looked specifically at: time taken to start walking or begin crossing the road; missed opportunities to cross safely; time taken to cross the road; looking left and right before or during crossing; and collisions and close calls with other pedestrians and vehicles.
The pooled data analysis showed that listening to music wasn’t associated with any heightened risk of potentially harmful pedestrian behaviors.
Talking on the phone was associated with a small increase in the time taken to start crossing the road and slightly more missed opportunities to cross the road safely.
Text messaging emerged as the potentially most harmful behavior. It was associated with significantly lower rates of looking left and right before and/or while crossing the road, and with moderately increased rates of collisions and close calls with other pedestrians or vehicles.
It also affected the time taken to cross a road and missed opportunities to cross safely, but to a lesser extent.
The review of the eight observational studies revealed that the percentage of pedestrians who were distracted ranged from 12 to 45%, and that behaviors were influenced by several factors, including gender, time of day, solo or group crossing, and walking speed.
The researchers acknowledge “a variety of study quality issues” which limit the generalizability of the findings.
Nevertheless, they point out: “Given the ubiquity of smartphones, social media, apps, digital video and streaming music, which has infiltrated most aspects of daily life, distracted walking and street cross will be a road safety issue for the foreseeable future.”
And as signage and public awareness campaigns don’t seem to alter pedestrian behavior, “Establishing the relationship between distracted walking behavior and crash risk is an essential research need,” they conclude.
- Sarah M Simmons, Jeff K Caird, Alicia Ta, Franci Sterzer, Brent E Hagel. Plight of the distracted pedestrian: a research synthesis and meta-analysis of mobile phone use on crossing behaviour. Injury Prevention, 2020; injuryprev-2019-043426 DOI: 10.1136/injuryprev-2019-043426
Cite This Page:
BMJ. “Smartphone texting linked to compromised pedestrian safety: Findings show higher rates of ‘near misses’ and failure to look left and right before crossing.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 February 2020. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/02/200203210601.htm>.
Also Read Safety Articles: