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2.9 – Distracted Driving

Whenever you are driving a vehicle and your attention is not on the road, you are putting yourself, your passengers, other vehicles, and pedestrians in danger. Distracted driving can result when performing any activity that may shift your full attention from the driving task. Taking your eyes off the road or hands off the steering wheel presents obvious driving risks. Mental activities that take your mind away from driving are just as dangerous. Your eyes can gaze at objects in the driving scene but fail to see them because your attention is elsewhere.

Activities that can distract your attention include: talking to passengers; adjusting the radio, CD player or climate controls; eating, drinking or smoking; reading maps or other literature; picking up something that fell; reading billboards and other road advertisements; watching other people and vehicles, including aggressive drivers; talking on a cellphone or CB radio; using telematics devices (such as navigation systems, pagers, etc.); daydreaming; or being occupied with other mental distractions.

2.9.1 – Do Not Drive Distracted

If drivers react a half second slower because of distractions, crashes double. Some tips to follow so you will not become distracted:

  • Review and be totally familiar with all safety and usage features on any in-vehicle electronics, including your wireless or cellphone, before you drive.
  • Pre-program radio stations.
  • Pre-load your favorite CDs or cassette tapes.
  • Clear the vehicle of any unnecessary objects.
  • Review maps and plan your route before you begin driving.
  • Adjust all mirrors for best all-around visibility before you start your trip.
  • Do not attempt to read or write while you drive.
  • Avoid smoking, eating and drinking while you drive.
  • Do not engage in complex or emotionally intense conversations with other occupants.

2.9.2 – Use In-vehicle Communication Equipment Cautiously

  • When possible, pull off the road in a safe, legal place when making/receiving a call on communication equipment.
  • If possible, turn the cellphone off until you reach your destination.
  • Position the cellphone within easy reach.
  • Pre-program cellphones with commonly called numbers.
  • If you have to place a call, find a safe place to pull off the road. Do not place a call while driving.
  • Illinois law requires that only hands-free devices be used while driving. Even these devices are unsafe to use when you are moving down the road.
  • If you must use your cellphone, keep conversations short. Develop ways to get free of long-winded friends and associates while on the road. Never use the cellphone for social visiting while driving.
  • Hang up in tricky traffic situations.
  • Do not use the equipment when approaching locations with heavy traffic, road construction, heavy pedestrian traffic or severe weather conditions.
  • Do not attempt to type or read messages on your satellite system while driving.

2.9.3 – Watch Out for Other Distracted Drivers

You need to be able to recognize other drivers who are engaged in any form of driving distraction. Not recognizing other distracted drivers can prevent you from perceiving or reacting correctly in time to prevent a crash. Watch for:

  • Vehicles that may drift over the lane divider lines or within their own lane.
  • Vehicles traveling at inconsistent speeds.
  • Drivers who are preoccupied with maps, food, cigarettes, cellphones or other objects.
  • Drivers who appear to be involved in conversations with their passengers.

Give a distracted driver plenty of room and maintain your safe following distance.

Be very careful when passing a driver who seems to be distracted. The other driver may not be aware of your presence, and they may drift in front of you.

Multiple-Choice Questions:

Question #110 (1 of 3)

Give a brief explanation of the problem:

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Crashes will double if drivers react how much slower?

  • 5 seconds
  • 3 seconds
  • 1/2 second
  • 2 seconds
If drivers react a half second slower because of distractions, crashes double.
This is an important and incredible stat. Think about that. With an additional delay of only 1/2 second of reaction time, the number of crashes will double.
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Question #112 (2 of 3)

Give a brief explanation of the problem:

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What should you do if you notice another driver is distracted?

  • Slow down and stay in the right-hand lane
  • Flash your lights and hit your horn to "wake them up" so they'll pay attention
  • Get off at the next exit or pull off the road at the next opportunity
  • Give a distracted driver plenty of room and maintain your safe following distance.
Give a distracted driver plenty of room and maintain your safe following distance.
Keep a close eye on anyone driving distracted and keep your distance.
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Question #111 (3 of 3)

Give a brief explanation of the problem:

Optional: Leave your email address if you would like a reply:

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Which of the following is helpful in avoiding distracted driving?

  • All these are good ideas
  • Adjust all mirrors for best all-around visibility before you start your trip.
  • Avoid smoking, eating and drinking while you drive.
  • Do not attempt to read or write while you drive.

To avoid driving distracted:

  • Review and be totally familiar with all safety and usage features on any in-vehicle electronics, including your wireless or cellphone, before you drive.
  • Pre-program radio stations.
  • Pre-load your favorite CDs or cassette tapes.
  • Clear the vehicle of any unnecessary objects.
  • Review maps and plan your route before you begin driving.
  • Adjust all mirrors for best all-around visibility before you start your trip.
  • Do not attempt to read or write while you drive.
  • Avoid smoking, eating and drinking while you drive.
  • Do not engage in complex or emotionally intense conversations with other occupants.
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