Summer is just around the corner. That means you can look forward to road trips, weekends in the sun, getting away to the beach and simply enjoying the weather. But there’s something else that happens every summer, too: an increase in distracted driving.
With an increase in miles driven, teens off from school, more commuters because of the low unemployment rate and an abundance of long holiday weekends, summer creates the perfect storm for distraction behind the wheel. Though you can’t control other drivers, it’s up to you to do your part in keeping the roadways safe.
Distracted driving explained
Simply put, distracted driving is any behavior that takes your eyes or your mind off the road. Talking and texting on a cellphone is the most common distraction, while eating, drinking, grooming and interacting with passengers also cause distractions.
Distracted driving is a serious problem. According to AAA, distracted drivers caused 95,639 accidents on Texas roadways in 2018 alone. This includes 11,987 distracted-driving crashes in Harris County with 13 fatalities.
The easiest way to avoid distracted driving is to put your phone away when you’re behind the wheel. Consider installing a handsfree, voice-activated Bluetooth receiver in your car. Many of these include features that let you place calls and text with your voice alone, as well as controlling your music and your GPS navigation.
If you are still too tempted to look at your phone, consider placing it in the trunk or a locked glove compartment while you drive. If you need to use it, pull over somewhere safe to place a call or text. Also, never eat while driving and ask any passengers to limit doing things that will distract you.
Summer is a great time to make plans with friends and see new places, but driving distracted is never worth the risk.