The dictionary defines an accident as an “unfortunate mishap that happens unintentionally which outcome can cause injury, harm, loss, and damage to lives and properties.” Honestly speaking, common accidents are really not accidents at all because most of them can be prevented and mitigated. One of the major causes of accidents in the United States today is distracted driving. A leading cause of such events is texting or using Smartphones or other types of mobile devices while driving. The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) has surmised that this involves the use of visual, manual, and cognitive attention, thereby decreasing the degree of concentration necessary while on the road with driving boom truck.
It is very well-known that texting while driving causes more injuries and fatalities as it can take an operator’s eyes off the road and cause a delayed reaction time. Even though this is the primary reason accidents occur, there are still other causes that must be avoided. Following is a list of some additional distractions.
- Conversations – Talking with a co-worker while on the road.
- Eating – Trying to eat a meal while driving.
- Reading – Reading maps or looking on the GPS system.
- Reaching – Reaching for moving objects inside the cab.
- Looking Around – Looking out the window to see an accident, construction work, scenic view, street names and addresses.
- Media – Watching videos, adjusting the radio, mp3 player, or CD player.
DOT research shows that in 2010 there were 3,092 individuals killed and another 416,000 injured in vehicular accidents involving distracted operators. Those who use mobile phones are four times more likely to be involved in a serious accident. The Center for Disease Control has also recorded that cell phone usage and texting while driving are the two major distractions in both the United States and Europe.
There are three things that must be done to avoid distractions: staying focused, paying attention, and expecting the unexpected. Paying attention is difficult when driving; however, there are some simple tips that can help one to remain focused and avoid severe accidents as listed below.
- No Mobile Devices – Refrain from using any type of handheld or mobile device. Turn them off if necessary.
- No Eating – Try to avoid snacking or eating a meal while on the road. Pull over if necessary.
- Take Breaks – Take a break at least every two hours when traveling long distances to prevent sleepiness and fatigue.
- Help From Passengers – Request that co-workers or other passengers adjust the radio, mp3, CD player, and other kinds of internal devices.
- Do Not Panic – Remain calm and relaxed. Do not make any sudden moves.
- Drive Defensively – Be prepared, vigilant, and avoid driving when tired. Minimize talking with passengers. Always be watching for the unexpected.
- Wear Seat Belts – Make sure to buckle-up for safety. Remember, seat belts are not only the law; they have saved many lives.
- Proper Maintenance – Ensure that the vehicle is properly inspected and maintained before heading out on the road.
- Follow Safety Laws – Obey all traffic rules and regulations in order to ensure a safe journey.
There are many reasons why accidents happen on the road; however, most of them can be avoided if operators are vigilant and stay focused while behind the wheel of a commercial heavy-duty vehicle. There are many distractions that can grab the attention of a driver; however, everything is simply a matter of behavior modification and self-discipline in order to mitigate a negative outcome.
Therefore, it is highly recommended that operators always stay focused, pay attention to the road, concentrate on the steering wheel, be properly educated about safety precautions, and never become distracted while driving, especially when handling specialized equipment like a boom truck!