Many of us have seen or heard the commercials telling us that “buzzed driving is drunk driving,” and many similar campaigns that warn against the dangers of any amount of alcohol intake before operating a vehicle. We’ve also heard plenty about the dangers of texting and driving, which is only one form of distracted driving.
In 2015, there were 3,477 deaths and 391,000 injuries resulting from vehicle accidents involving distracted driving (source); and 10,265 deaths from alcohol-related vehicle accidents (source)—that’s about 37 deaths every single day from distracted and drunk driving combined. We all know that drunk driving is dangerous and that we’re not supposed to text and drive. So why are so many of these accidents still happening?
Here’s a list of 9 common misconceptions related to the dangers of distracted and drunk driving.
1. Drunk driving is way worse than distracted driving.
Distracted driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving. In most states that have outlawed texting while driving, the fine is much lower than intoxicated driving even though it’s equally as dangerous. With milder penalties comes a laxer attitude, but the danger is still severe.
2. I’m a good driver; I don’t get too distracted.
Everyone gets distracted by something while they drive, whether they realize it or not. The radio, a phone call, a quick glance at the GPS, a small bite of your fast food, a sip from your travel mug, or a second look at a billboard are all tiny little actions that can distract even the best drivers for a few seconds at a time; just enough time to lose control of the vehicle or fail to avoid an accident.
3. Texting is the worst form of distracted driving.
Texting isn’t any worse than talking on the phone. Both activities take your attention off of the road, even if only partially. Taking a bite of food also requires the use of one or both of you hands, and it generally requires your vision for a brief amount of time, just like texting.
4. It’s okay to use other features of my phone, just not texting.
Again, texting isn’t the only problem for drivers. As helpful and maybe necessary as your GPS app is, it’s a dangerous distraction from your driving. So is a phone call and so is Pokémon Go. Using a phone in any way is a distraction to drivers. Period. A tool like Ving can help you share this important information with your students to keep them safe.
5. Hands-free devices are safer.
So maybe your hands-free technology seems completely safe to use because you don’t have to take your hands off of the wheel and you don’t really have to look at anything to use it. Driving isn’t only about your hands and eyes—you need your attention, your focus. If you’re focusing on making a hands-free phone call and thinking about what you want to say to the other person on the phone, you’re distracted enough to cause an accident.
6. Eating while driving is fine.
It’s not illegal to eat in the car; you probably won’t get pulled over for eating some french fries. But the legality of the action doesn’t make it any less dangerous. Taking a hand or two off of the wheel, looking to make sure the food properly goes in your mouth, and checking to see if you dropped any on your shirt are all pretty big distractions. Eating while driving is just as bad as texting while driving.
7. Distracted driving only causes minor fender benders.
Distracted driving can cause fender benders or multi-car pile-ups. It can cause a scratch or a death. If you’re lucky enough to walk away from an accident unharmed, don’t make the mistake of thinking that all distracted driving mishaps end in such fortune.
8. I can drive after a couple beers, just not hard liquor.
It’s true that different types of alcohol affect people differently, but the effects of any alcohol are dangerous to drivers all the same. It might take more beer than the equivalent in liquor for you to feel drunk, but really the only way to drive safely is to not drink any alcohol (or get a designated driver).
9. One text/one drink isn’t enough to wreck.
It only takes a couple seconds of distraction for an accident. It only takes a small amount of alcohol for your body to be affected. Any amount of distraction or influence is absolutely enough to be the cause of a minor or major accident.
Not using Ving yet? Talk to one of our Account Executives today to learn more about educating students on the dangers of distracted and drunk driving. Schedule an appointment to learn more about Ving and the many ways it can be used in your classroom!