Distracted driving – not just using your phone

Posted on October 5th, 2015 by James Luckhurst

Distracted driving

For more than a decade we’ve really stepped it up with social media. We can find out what’s happening within our world every second of the day. That is, if we want to. To many people, they can’t let a moment go by without knowing what’s happening.

Our phones play a big part of this and we all know the risks of using them when we’re driving. Our friends at Young Drivers of Canada point out that for many people, using a smart phone is really turning into an addiction. Principal Scott Marshall says: “But our phones are only one part of distracted driving. We’ve always been distracted at some point throughout our lives.

“I remember as a kid when I was reading and my mother or father come into the room and started talking to me. I never heard them because I was so into what I was reading.

“How many times were you caught daydreaming while you were at school only to miss the information the teacher was sharing? It happens all the time and it won’t really stop.”

Even 30 or more years ago we were distracted while driving. But instead of distracted by our phones, we were distracted by our radio, passengers, loose items in our vehicle and a crowded front seat. “Remember the bench seat,” asks Scott Marshall. “Oh yes, we also didn’t have cup holders or water bottles. If you wanted to drink something while driving, you rested it on the seat beside you. If it spilled, you were focused on that and not driving.

“We were always distracted, even then. Mobile phones have just added to the list of distractions. Since we can agree being distracted is a common element, why don’t we agree on when we can afford to be distracted?

“We can afford to be distracted the most when that distraction won’t affect our own safety or the safety of those around us. For example, being distracted while walking along the pavement or riding a bicycle can lead to injuries or mistakes. I’ve watched cyclists text while riding and go straight through stop signs. Did they care what they just did? Did they know what they just did?

“Texting while walking across the street can lead into trouble. It’s human nature to be curious, but it takes focus to decide if you should do something about the curiosity or if you should ignore it. The case can be found with this photo. This is the result of the driver becoming distracted with a spider in the vehicle. I know many who don’t like spiders, or bees or any other insects. I think we all know the logical thing to do is to pull over and deal with it, but what if you can’t? Having your passenger attempt to deal with it while you’re driving may be just as distracting or worse.

“In most cases, you’ll be able to pull over safely and within a few seconds so you can deal with your distraction. It really comes down to prioritising. If you’re swimming you focus on not drowning. If you’re cooking on the barbeque, you focus on not burning your food. Think of the end result. Driving shouldn’t be any different.”