Distracted Driving Awareness Month falls in October, this year! We’re sharing distracted driving facts to help you make better choices about your daily driving habits.
Here are some tricks so you don’t get an unwanted “treat” on your driving record this month!
“Patience is something you admire in the driver behind you and scorn in the one ahead.” – Mac McCleary
At The FIRM, we love to kick up the dirt, put the pedal to the metal, and do what many consider to be fun but perhaps risky activities in cars. The purpose of our technical training facility is to teach drivers how to engage in high-risk activities safely!
“If no one comes from the future to stop you from doing it, then how bad of a decision can it really be?” – Will Ferrell
We aim to teach all our students proper car control so they can enjoy their driving, whether on the track, on a rally course, and even on local streets. Your focus, in the car, and on the road, are key factors that play a role in your safety as well as those around you!
What is Distracted Driving?
If your attention is diverted while behind the wheel, you are in danger of being a distracted driver! There are 3 main types of distraction:
- Visual – when you take your eyes off the road
- Manual – When you take your hands off the wheel
- Cognitive – when you take your mind off driving
Common Driving Distractions
- Kids screaming in the back seat of the car.
- Other passengers.
- Work calls or text messages.
- Friends on Instagram lighting up your screen with posts.
- The need to share a social media update.
- Putting on makeup, eating, or drinking.
- The search for your favorite song or trying to set up the navigation.
While we’ve listed a few of the most common distractions, daydreaming, a lack of focus, or being mentally preoccupied can be just as hazardous behind the wheel!
At The FIRM our training is so immersive it pushes out all thoughts so that you fully absorb safe driving techniques. This will help you develop “muscle memory” so the next time you are “spaced out”, you have the “reaction memory” built up to safely correct and avoid danger.
“Leave sooner. Drive Slower. Live Longer.”
We’re more connected to the world around us. Great news!
We are less connected and focused on driving. Bad news! This is a huge problem, not just for drivers and passengers, but pedestrians as well.
A key factor of engaged drivers is they can anticipate the stupidity of others! Great news.
Sadly, few drivers are offensive so if you are distracted, they are less likely to anticipate your stupidity. Bad news!
“It takes 8,460 bolts to assemble an automobile, and one nut to scatter it all over the road.” ~ unknown author
Distracted Driving Facts
“If you don’t use your turn signal…. I automatically assume you’re an idiot in every other aspect of your life.” Will Ferrell.
Check out the distracted driving facts according to NHTSA:
- In 2018 8% of fatal crashes, 15% of injury crashes, and 14% of all police-reported motor vehicle traffic crashes were reported as crashes caused by distracted drivers
- 2,841 people were killed and an estimated 400,000 people were injured in 2018 due to crashes involving distracted driving.
- Drivers aged 15 to 19 have the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted at the time of fatal crashes.
- In 2018 there were 506 pedestrians, pedal-cyclists, and others who were not occupying a vehicle that were killed in crashes involving distracted drivers.
The Florida Texting Law went into effect in 2019. Officers can pull you over solely for the suspicion of texting while driving.
“Google is working on self-driving cars, they seem to work. People are so bad at driving cars that computers don’t have to be that good to be much better.”– Marc Anderson
Carsurance claims that “21% of teen drivers involved in a car accident were distracted by cell phones.” Additionally, “once a driver has been distracted, it takes only 3 seconds for a car crash to occur.”
According to the CDC, texting while driving combines all three distraction types. About 9 people are killed each day in the U.S. while more than 1,000 are injured in crashes involving distracted driving.
“Be here. Be present. Wherever you are, be there.” – Willie Nelson
Steps To Take Against Distracted Driving
Now that you know some distracted driving facts, what can you do with the information?
The goal is to learn to be present and engaged. This is all about neurology.
Any professional athlete understands “the zone”. They become one with the game. They have developed the skill to tune out the loud crowd, stay at one with the “ball”, and focus exclusively on the game even blocking their pain receptors to continue to play while injured.
How many drivers “train” to stay in the “zone’? How many drivers understand how important focus to the exclusion of all distractions is to the safety of their own “game”?
Even worse, what kind of example are most drivers setting for their kids?
“The racing driver’s mind has to have the ability to have amazing anticipation, coordination, and reflex. Because of the speed the car goes.” – Emerson Fittipaldi
A simple step to take, which can also help you train your thoughts in other areas, is to consciously stay present in the moment. Each time you note your mind wandering bring it back to the here and now. Think to yourself “I am here. I am in this moment. I am totally focused on the task at hand”. This will help you learn to redirect and train your mind. If you can learn to do this in the car, you will be amazed at how relaxed you will become out of the car. Think about it, when your brain is racing all over the place, it’s burning down your mental energy. If you train your mind to stay focused, you are saving mental energy!
“You know, somebody actually complimented me on my driving today. They left a little note on the windscreen, it said ‘Parking Fine’.” – Tommy Cooper
The other benefit of being present is that you can learn to do the same thing with others. You can focus your mind and only listen to what they are saying. This will improve your relationships.
You can learn to actively listen. Most people do not know how to actively listen. They are either distracted or building their own case while the other is speaking. It has been described as person A is up in their head listing to thoughts, while person B is speaking. Person B is up in their head while person A is talking. So really there is a lot of thinking going on in everyone’s head making it impossible to even really hear another person let alone have clarity of mind for oneself.
So give it a try.
Drive today and train your mind to be aware of the sound of your car, the cars around you, and your hand placement on the steering wheel.
Tune into what thoughts are “playing in the background” of your mind. Then train your mind to come back to the present.
“The point of power is always in the present moment.” – Louise L. Hay
If you find this exercise very difficult, then you’ve just stumbled on a key area of your life that has probably been running you instead of you running it. Thoughts run wild! This can lead to all sorts of reactivity that lead to damaged relations. Like a feedback loop, you may be the victim of your own distracted thoughts in many areas of your life.
“People don’t take trips, trips take people.” John Steinbeck
At the FIRM our program is so fully immersive and so outside your comfort zone, you will learn to get in the “zone”. You will be so focused on the task at hand, that you will absorb key driving techniques. This helps you build up “muscle memory” on how to safely correct choices, whether they are yours or those of other drivers.
At The FIRM, we can help you overcome and master the three main types of distracted driving.
“Wherever you are, be all there.” Jim Elliot
If you want to improve your focus, driving technique, and train your mind to be a better driver, then our HPDE course is just for you! We can help you master those tight turns at speed. We can meet the need for speed on our 1.6-mile track. We can help you stay fully engaged as you learn to navigate our ten turn track. You will learn how to hit the apex. We will purposefully push you to the edge and slightly off track so you can experience the weight shift and tire grip change of going off tarmac. We will help you spin “out of control” in a controlled way. We can help you get back on track without oversteering and teach you proper weight management.
Before embarking on your journey:
- Set up navigation if you’re using it
- Set up your music station
- Ensure your seat and mirrors are positioned for optimal driving and viewability
- Send any last texts, emails, or social media posts
We hope that by sharing these distracted driving facts you’ll make safer choices before heading out on the road! Prevent accidents, injuries, and costly traffic violations by ensuring you take distracted driving seriously!