Our View: Always focus on the road when driving

“Keep your eyes on the road.”

It seems like a simple instruction, and is likely the first thing our parents or driving instructors instilled in us as teenager getting behind the wheel for the first time.

But perhaps now more than ever, many accidents are caused each year by distracted driving.

Every day, at least nine Americans die and 100 are injured in distracted driving crashes, according to the National Safety Council.

That’s why April’s focus on Distracted Driving Awareness is important.

Distracted Driving Awareness Month is as good a time as any to be reminded of the need to stay focused while driving.

That focus can save lives.

“Cell phones, dashboard touchscreens, voice commands and other in-vehicle technologies pose a threat to our safety,” according to NSC.

Other distractions can include listening to music too loudly or performing other tasks while behind the wheel (think applying makeup, fumbling around trying to find something or even eating). Even putting too much focus on conversations or interactions with passengers can be distracting and is something of which we should all be cognizant.

NSC says about 94 percent of crashes are caused by driver error, meaning nearly all accidents that occur on our roadways are preventable. One way to prevent accidents is to remain focused on the road.

Currently, one of the most common distractions while driving are cell phones, including texting, voice-to-text and talking on the phone.

NSC reports 7 percent of all drivers at any given time are using their phones while driving, and a NHTSA survey finds 660,000 drivers using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving at any given daylight moment

“Drivers talking on phones, hand-held or hands-free, miss seeing up to 50 percent of what is around them like other drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists,” according to NSC.

Remember, to just drive. No other distraction is worth the potentially fatal consequences.