Anything that diverts your attention away from the main task of driving is a distraction. Basically, anything that takes your eyes/mind off the road or your hands off the wheel. This includes cell phone usage, eating, talking, listening to disruptive music, applying make-up, tending to children and navigation systems.
Not Just Texting – Any Cell Phone Usage Can be Deadly
Research has shown that the distraction caused by a phone conversation is the same for hands-free or hand-held cell phones. Even more distracting is the act of text messaging. Now illegal in most states (including Wisconsin), texting takes a driver’s eyes off the road an average of 4.6 seconds out of every 6 seconds. At 55 mph, this translates into 120 yards without looking at the road.
Manage Your Distractions
- Recognize that driving requires your full attention.
- Ask a passenger to place a call for you and, if possible, speak in your place.
- Do not compose, send or read text messages while driving. In Wisconsin, texting while driving is illegal.
- Ask passengers to help with directions or adjust dashboard controls.
- Secure loose items in the vehicle so they don’t become projectiles or distractions in a sudden stop or crash.
- Avoid intense, complicated or emotional conversations when driving.
- Pull over to care for children.
- Stop to eat or drink, rather than trying to eat or drink while driving.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Program your GPS prior to starting your trip.
- Allow plenty of time for your trip.
R&R offers a free Stop The Distraction Campaign Kit for Wisconsin Schools and families in an effort to help prevent distracted driving. Contact us for your free kit if you are located in Wisconsin. 800-566-7007.