That text? It can wait. Take the pledge to stop distracted driving

Distraction comes in many forms 

In the car, it could mean taking your eyes off the road to change the radio station, taking your hands off the wheel to enjoy the first sips of morning coffee, or losing your focus because you're talking to a passenger. 

From eating, drinking, and personal grooming, to using a GPS, and talking or texting on a cell phone, there's no limit to the possible distractions while driving. Each one puts the driver, passengers, and others on the road at risk. 

Hand-held or hands-free: A cell phone is distracting

Perhaps the most serious of these distractions is cell phone use. At any given time during the day, more than 800,000 vehicles are being driven by someone using a held-held device, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Scary right? That time on the phone, whether talking or texting, is dangerous. In fact: 

  • Sending or receiving a text takes a driver's eyes away from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds—equivalent to driving the length of an entire football field…blind.
  • Sending a text makes a driver 23 times more likely to crash. 
  • Using a cell phone while driving delays a driver's reactions as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of 0.8 percent. 
  • Using a hand-held device while driving makes a driver four times more likely to get in a serious crash. 
  • Talking on a hands-free cell phone still takes the focus away from the road, causing a driver to miss important visual cues. 

Improve your safety on the road

While you can't control others' actions on the road, you can control your own. To limit the use of your phone, turn it off and place it out of reach when you get in the car. If you use the radio or a GPS, set it before you start driving so you won't need to adjust it later. Also avoid eating or drinking while driving. 

If you're a passenger and notice the driver engaging in risky behavior, speak up. Ask them to focus on driving, for their safety and your own. 

Take the pledge to stop distracted driving, and encourage others to do the same. 

For more distracted driving resources, visit Prevention Connection.