Drivers in Pennsylvania face plenty of dangers on the roads these days. Some of these come from average, everyday actions that people engage in. One prime example is distracted driving.

Here are some facts and figures regarding this risky behavior.

The widespread nature of distracted driving

In one survey conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 86% of participants said that they would feel very unsafe if they were passengers in a vehicle where the driver was sending text messages or emails. However, between 20% and 25% of respondents also admitted to at least occasionally sending or reading text messages or emails while driving.

This disparity demonstrates that even though many drivers understand that it is not a safe behavior, they do it anyway.

The effects of distracted driving

Distracted driving affects drivers in different ways, but anyone who gets behind the wheel and does not stay focused on the road may display several common symptoms. Motorists who do not fully engage in the tasks of driving tend to move at erratic speeds, weave between lanes, drift into other lanes and, often, hit cars in front of them because they do not look up in time to stop.

Safe driving takes full concentration, both hands on the wheel and the eyes constantly scanning the environment for hazards. Even removing one hand from the steering wheel can keep a driver from being able to react quickly enough in a sudden traffic situation and so can glancing away from the road for one second. A driver who is thinking about something other than driving may still fail to notice that the vehicle ahead has stopped.

The danger becomes exponentially larger when the driver looks away from the road and takes both hands off the steering wheel to read or answer a text or email. People might never agree to drive blindfolded, but when interacting with cellphones, the effect is the same. A vehicle going 60 mph can travel farther than the length of a football field while the driver reads or answers an average text.