Accidents are a difficult ordeal to bear, even when no one gets hurt. One of the ways these accidents occur is through driver distraction. We’re going to look deeper into this and maybe surprise you a little bit.
Distracted driving causes approximately 11% of all accidents on the Arizona roads.
I can’t tell you how many times an auto wrecking company is called to haul away a junk car, a car that was a beautiful, gleaming automobile the week before, but became a junk car in a flash, due to an accident involving a distracted driver.
Looking behind the causes of these accidents may seem pointless, since it seems obvious that cellphone use is the primary culprit. However, that is not actually the case. Cellphones don’t cause as many accidents as the number one cause of driver distraction: road construction. The distracted driving accident is much more likely to be caused by the guy who is going too fast and can’t slam on the brakes fast enough at the merge rather than the kid talking on his cell phone.
Construction is an ongoing affair here in the Metro Phoenix area.
Since we don’t enjoy the snow many other cities, construction is a continual event in the Valley. The combination of going too fast and looking at ongoing construction instead of merging properly creates a hazard which surpasses even our love affair with cellphones.
This is not to say that cellphones don’t create a distraction, particularly among the 20-29 year-old age group. This makes sense, since younger drivers are taught in high school to be careful of cell phone distractions, and are still learning confidence behind the wheel. By their twenties, this lesson has waned, and these drivers experience a rise in confidence of their driving skills, which, in turn, creates a larger percentage of cell phone-induced distracted driving accidents.
Be aware of local conditions.
Arizona Department of Transportation has a website where you can see our road conditions, including road and lane closures, accidents, weather conditions, border waits and road work here. You can see the whole state, or narrow your interest to one county and then use the zoom feature within that county. You can even view streets in realtime using the camera images provided.
Some tips to remind you how to stay focused--and alive
Leave a little early.
Don’t rush. The thirty seconds you save by speeding to a meeting won’t help you, especially if it causes you to have an accident or get a ticket.
Watch the construction sign directions carefully: they aren’t always timely or clear.
Zooming ahead of slowing traffic only to merge at the last minute doesn’t make you clever. It makes you a jerk. More on that on another day.
Remind yourself that you don’t care how the construction is coming along, don’t need to see that billboard, don’t want to look at an accident as you drive by, and don’t want anything in your car--not your cell phone, passengers, radio, or even the delicious-smelling taco you just got at the drive-thru--to distract you and cause you to have an accident.
Remember! You don’t have to wreck your car for me to buy it. I’d rather see you sell your car to me because it got old or because you wanted a new one instead of being forced to sell it because it was totalled in a wreck caused by driver inattention. Your safety, and that of your passengers, is what is really the most important thing when you get behind the wheel.