In recent years, numerous laws, regulations and media campaigns have all been directed at raising awareness and preventing vehicle collisions caused by distracted driving. Unfortunately, individuals in Vancouver must still pay careful attention to distracted drivers on city streets and highways alike.
While drivers agree that using hand-held electronic devices to talk, text or check email can be dangerous while behind the wheel, there are numerous other activities that can ultimately prove just as distracting, including:
- Eating and drinking: Drivers who dine while behind the wheel often do not realize they might be putting themselves and others at risk. Unfortunately, this activity is so commonplace that drivers no longer even recognize it as a distraction. Eating or drinking while attempting to safely operate the motor vehicle can be a challenge because the hands are removed from the steering wheel, the eyes are removed from the road and attention is removed from the task at hand.
- Adjusting in-vehicle controls: Designers have attempted to make controls easier to access and simpler to use. This does not change the fact that a driver must often remove his or her hand from the steering wheel to adjust climate control, activate the windshield wipers or change a radio station. Additionally, drivers will often look at the controls while adjusting them, leading to both a manual and visual distraction.
- Interacting with vehicle occupants: In this case, vehicle occupants can refer to adult passengers, children or even pets. The interaction can be as simple as a conversation or as intense as passing out snacks to hungry children in the back seat. The entire range of interactions must be considered a distraction that can lead to serious collisions.
Distracted drivers can cause motor vehicle collisions during any type of traffic pattern in any type of weather. An individual who allows an activity to pull his or her attention from the act of driving immediately becomes a hazard to everyone sharing the road. Drivers who are negligent while behind the wheel can cause wrecks resulting in whiplash, brain injuries, muscle sprains or even broken bones.