How to recognize distracted driving and tips to avoid it

How to recognize distracted driving and tips to avoid it

The City of Dallas is recognizing April as National Distracted Driving Month, a nationwide effort to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving and eliminate preventable deaths and injuries on our roadways.

Talking or texting on a cell phone is the most common form of distracted driving, and diverts physical and cognitive attention away from driving. To reduce the risk of distraction, there are a number of apps to fight the urge to use your phone while driving. Drivers can even take it a step further and place their cell phone in a bag or in the back seat of their car.

Some less common and often overlooked, but just as dangerous forms of distracted driving include:

  1. Eating. Having a full meal or even a snack at the wheel limits manual, visual and cognitive skills while driving. Limiting meals to when you’ve stopped on the road greatly reduces the chance of distraction.
  2. GPS. Looking away from the road to decipher GPS directions can be just as debilitating as texting. Before you start moving, map out your route so you can know as you go.
  3. Applying makeup. When you’re short on time, applying your makeup in the car can be tempting. But it can be a detrimental distraction, and best left to before you leave or after arrival.
  4. Emotional distractions. If your thoughts are wandering, feeling overwhelmed or stressed, or even fighting with a passenger in your vehicle, it’s time to pull over. Take a few deep breaths and do what it takes to put emotional stresses on pause. If you can’t, don’t drive.

In a survey of residents for the City of Dallas Vision Zero plan, 64% of respondents said distracted driving was a challenge to navigating Dallas safely. The Vision Zero plan was requested by Dallas City Council in 2019 to address eliminating traffic fatalities and cutting severe injuries in half by 2030. After gathering resident feedback, the Vision Zero Action Plan will be presented to council in 2022.

To learn more about the Vision Zero plan, click here.

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