Distracted driving significantly increases the likelihood of accidents, putting everyone on the road at risk. When drivers divert their attention from the task of driving, their reaction times become delayed, paving the way for potential disasters.
According to the 2021 South Carolina Traffic Collision Fact Book, distracted driving was the primary contributing factor in 8,928 crashes that year. These accidents killed six people, seriously injured 112 and caused less severe injuries to 2,567 people.
One of the main dangers of distracted driving is the delayed reaction time it causes. When drivers are not fully focused on the road, their ability to respond quickly to unexpected situations diminishes. This delay can lead to more severe accidents and increase the likelihood of injuries.
When you are driving, staying safe on the road sometimes depends on reaction times. This involves three main steps: seeing a potential hazard, processing the information about it and physically reacting to avoid or address the situation.
Your vehicle will not react until you depress the brake pedal or turn the steering wheel, and it takes time for cars to respond to your directions. The quicker and more accurate your reactions, the better you can navigate the road.
Common distractions on the road
Various distractions contribute to the heightened risk of accidents. Electronic devices, such as smartphones, are major culprits. The allure of text messages, calls or social media notifications diverts attention away from the road. Other common distractions include adjusting the radio, eating or engaging in conversations with passengers.
Reading a text while driving takes about five seconds. In that time, if you are going at the average highway speed, you can cover the length of a football field. That is a lot of ground without your full attention on the road.
Types of injuries in distracted driving accidents
Accidents caused by distracted driving can result in a range of injuries, from minor to severe. Common injuries include whiplash, cuts, bruises and fractures. More severe accidents can lead to traumatic injuries like concussions, spinal cord injuries or even fatalities.
Staying focused on the road is not just a personal responsibility but a collective effort to prioritize road safety.