Are You a Risky Driver?
Do you take chances behind the wheel that would make you nervous if you saw other drivers do the same? A new survey finds for many New Jersey residents, the answer is yes.
A new Rutgers-Eagleton, New Jersey Medical School poll finds 90 percent of Garden State residents think reading is a driver's most dangerous activity, saying they feel very unsafe as passengers when the driver is viewing a book, text message or email.
Over half of the respondents indicate they are uncomfortable when a driver is eating or drinking, or worse, making a call on a handheld cellphone.
"Passengers get nervous when their driver is reading a book or a newspaper, or even a tablet (or) PC-type of thing, things like emails or text messages," said David Redlawsk, director of the Rutgers-Eagleton poll, "but when they're driving, those same people admit they frequently engage in those behaviors."
Owning up to distracted driving was tough for some, according to Redlawsk.
"The most dangerous things, things like texting or nodding off, people are less likely to say they did it, but some people admitted it," he said.
The poll finds a shocking 5 percent of drivers admit they have dozed off while behind the wheel, even just briefly.
"If in fact even one in 20 drivers is nodding off at the wheel from time to time, that's a pretty serious hazard," Redlawsk said. "It does happen, and given how many cars we have out there, that's a little scary."
He also said the total percentage of drivers doing this is no doubt higher, because when people are asked if they engage in behaviors they know are not socially acceptable, "they're less likely to tell us the truth, so it's all the more fascinating that so many people did say they've done it."