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Distracted Driving and Safe Driving Habits. By Our April Student Pharmacist, Kristy Jackson.


We are getting closer to summertime and the weather is getting nicer, which means more people traveling and more people on the roads. There are many things that can distract us while driving. There are ways to prevent distracted driving, however, and there are safe practices we can follow to all be better drivers.

Type of Distractions

There are three main types of distractions while driving:

  • Visual – something that makes you take your eyes off the road
  • Manual – something that makes you take your hands off the wheel
  • Cognitive – something that takes your mind off driving

Activities that can distract us from driving are:

  • Using a cell phone
  • Texting
  • Eating

While any distraction can be dangerous, texting while driving is especially dangerous because it combines all three types of distractions–visual, manual, and cognitive.

The Facts

Cell phones are great and they allow us to be connected 24-7 no matter where we are. However, cell phones pose a great danger when they are used while driving.

  • Even though 98% of adults know that texting while driving is unsafe, 49% still admit to doing it.
  • A driver can only safely glance away from the road while driving for 2 seconds.
  • It takes an average of 5 seconds to send a text message.
  • At 55 mph, taking your eyes from the road for 5 seconds is long enough to cover a football field.
  • Texting while driving makes a crash up to 23 times more likely.
  • Teenagers and distracted driving are a worrisome pair, since drivers under 20-years-old have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes.


Here is a list of safety tips we can follow, teens and adults, to be better drivers for our safety and the safety of others:

  • Turn your cell phone off
    • In Ohio, all drivers younger than 18-years-old are banned from using cell phones while behind the wheel.
    • Even with a hand free device, using a cell phone while driving is equivalent to driving drunk.
  • No texting
    • In Ohio, all drivers, regardless of age, are banned from texting while driving.
  • Obey the speed limit
    • This not only keeps you from getting speeding tickets, but also ensures your safety.
    • Don’t feel pressured to keep up with traffic if it is going at an unsafe speed.
  • Minimize other distractions
    • Attempting to eat, drink, or change the radio are all things that take your focus from the road.
  • Practice defensive driving
    • Be aware of the traffic ahead, behind, and next to you. Maintain a buffer zone between you and other vehicles and have possible escape routes in mind.

Some other safe practices to keep in mind if you are taking a long car trip:

  • Make sure to get enough sleep.
  • Take breaks every few hours even if you’re not tired.
  • If possible, share the responsibility of driving with someone else.

Road trips are a fun experience, but always remember to practice safe driving.  Most importantly, put your cell phone away to ensure no texting while driving for your safety and the safety of your passengers.



  1. Schumaker E. 10 Statistics That Capture The Dangers of Texting and Driving. The Huffington Post. 2015. Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/08/dangers-of-texting-and-driving-statistics_n_7537710.html.
  2. 11 Fact About Texting and Driving | DoSomething.org | Volunteer for Social Change. Dosomethingorg. Available at: https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-fact-about-texting-and-driving.
  3. Distracted Driving | Motor Vehicle Safety | CDC Injury Center. Cdcgov. 2016. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/distracted_driving/.
  4. Safe Driving Tips for Teenage Drivers | DMV.org. DMVorg. 2016. Available at: http://www.dmv.org/insurance/safe-driving-tips-for-teenage-drivers.php.
  5. Ohio Safety Laws – Cell Phone, Seat Belt, & Car Seat | DMV.org. DMVorg. 2016. Available at: http://www.dmv.org/oh-ohio/safety-laws.php.


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