1. Using your phone while driving :
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shared some sobering numbers from 2015: There were nearly 3,500 distracted driving-related deaths and almost 400,000 injuries in the U.S. that year. The NHTSA also said about 660,000 drivers are using their phones during daylight hours alone, which adds up to a huge potential for accidents.
It’s not just about texting, but also about checking your email, answering calls, holding the phone up to your ear, or inputting GPS queries while you should be concentrating on driving. So what’s the best way to keep from joining the NHTSA’s grim statistics?
Ideally, you won’t use your phone at all. Otherwise, be sure to go hands-free so you’re not fumbling with your gadget while behind the wheel.
2. Taking Unsafe Selfies :
Love them or hate them, selfies are here to stay. But selfies are a responsibility as well as a privilege. There have been plenty of viral images of adrenaline-seeking selfie-takers posing on the edges of skyscrapers, but there have also sadly been reports of tragic deaths due to people attempting selfies in unsafe situations.
While it’s easy to blame the selfies themselves, there are underlying issues involving carelessness, distraction, and daredevil attitudes. Carnegie Mellon University scientists studied the causes of selfie deaths and hope to come up with a technology solution that will help prevent dangerous selfies.
4. Texting and Walking :
It’s not just texting and driving that can be dangerous. It’s hard to keep on eye on your phone screen and simultaneously navigate a busy sidewalk or cross a street. You may have seen some of the many YouTube videos showing people texting and then falling into a mall fountain, bumping into other pedestrians, or stepping out into streets without checking for traffic. It even has a name: “distracted walking.”
Distracted walking is a growing issue. Honolulu recently adopted an ordinance banning smartphone use in crosswalks in an attempt to make its streets safer. If you need to use your phone, then pause and step off to the side or just wait until you’re someplace safe before sending that text, playing the next round of your game, or checking your email.
In a similar vein, walking or biking while wearing headphones and grooving to loud tunes on your smartphone can be dangerous as well. You’re blocking out important cues around you, such as car horns, sirens, or bicycle bells. Turn down the volume, leave the earbuds off, or use bone-conduction headphones when you’re around traffic.
5. Unquestionably Following GPS:
Having GPS on our phones is a wonderful convenience. We can figure out where we are, get turn-by-turn directions, and never be lost again. But maps and directions don’t always include construction updates and road hazards.
Recent history is littered with vehicle incidents attributed in part to drivers following GPS directions that didn’t pan out. There’s also the danger of letting your GPS directions distract you, which was a reason cited in a fatal August accident in Georgia.
Fortunately, our digital maps are always improving and we can now get better traffic updates than ever. You can follow your GPS, but don’t leave your common sense and road smarts behind.
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