College Students & Distracted Driving

When you are a student at college, you strongly believe that you are mature, full of energy, independent and experienced enough in lots of spheres. You usually live separately from your parents and nobody controls you. Your life is full of adventures, studying, parties and hobbies. You need to be mobile, so driving must be a daily activity. And to all others you have so many things to do and prefer to be multitasking. Does this sound familiar?

What does it mean to be distracted?

Modern life offers a huge amount of chances to drag away your attention from what you’re supposed to be doing. Checking your cell phone every ten minutes seems to be normal in our digital world, but this habit ruins our ability to concentrate. As a result we have problems with studying and communication, and we even put our lives in danger. Distracted students in class or at home harm themselves in a psychological way, but when it comes to driving they become life threatening.

Distracted driving statistics are rather sad:

– Driver distraction is reported to be responsible for more than 58% of teen crashes, overall, including 89 percent of road-departure accidents and 76 percent of the rear-end crashes.

What are the factors that can distract a driving student?

– communicating and interacting with one or more passengers;

– cell phone use;

– looking at something inside and outside the vehicle;

– being lost in thought or letting their mind wander;

– adjusting audio or climate controls;

– smoking;

– munching on a snack or sipping coffee;

– grooming and applying makeup;

-reaching for an object inside the car, etc.

The most common factors are using cell phones or interacting with other passengers, especially teens or students.

How is it possible to prevent car crashes among distracted students?

Motor vehicle crashes are mostly preventable. First of all, students need to change their attitude to driving a vehicle and deeply understand for the rest of their lives that they are taking a huge responsibility for their own lives and the lives of others. Drivers’ self-efficacy for driving and multitasking in the car increases the probability that a student will engage in distracted driving. The idea of responsible driving should be spread among all local communities and states. In some cases it is important to enforce strong laws banning texting and hand-held cell phone use.

We should also take into consideration the fact that witnessing distracted driving behaviors in others makes students think that it is normal. Parents and adults should be good role models for young drivers and set a good example.

Furthermore, it is possible to turn off all electronic devices before starting to drive, or if you are a passenger, offer to make the call for the driver.

There are three main rules for ensuring yours and others safety on the road while you are driving:

  1. Keep your eyes on the road;
  2. Keep your mind on the task of driving;
  3. Keep your hands on the wheel.

And if you are a passenger, always wear your seat belt, because they are the best defense against other unsafe drivers.

To sum up, distracted driving is a highly prevalent behavior among college students due to their self-confidence and proclivity for multi-tasking, and it is very dangerous and life threatening. But, all is in our hands and we can reduce the number of car crash victims by just following these simple rules and tips.

Emily Watts is an experienced writer on She is also a professional psychologist with experience working with car accident perpetrators and victims. She has had no traffic violation records since she obtained a driving license.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.

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One Response to “College Students & Distracted Driving”

  1. James C. Walker says:

    Done properly, driving is a full time job. It is also a very complex skill that people can be proud to hone to facilitate efficient and safe travels.